Writing a new chapter in physics, a Ford Mustang convertible, traveling under 30mph hit a BMW leaving the curb, and then launched into the air and landed, upside-down, on its rag-roof. It happened Saturday, just before noon at Channing Way and Telegraph.
Although both drivers were taken to the hospital, they were not seriously injured, according to rescue workers at the scene.
The driver of the Mustang was wrenched from under his steering wheel by a good-samaritan street vendor, who rushed over from his Teley street stand.
This was the second time the good samaritan had been involved with flipped Mustangs, he said. Known as "Doc," because he fixes things, he tinkered just right with a jammed steering wheel releasing it so the Mustang driver could squeeze out of the car, Doc said.
In 2004, Doc saw another Mustang flip, only this time he was involved in the accident, he said. "I sat in the car with the other guy and watched his broken leg bleed," Doc said. "We both should have died."
The driver of the BMW was hauled off on a gurney, but only because, a paramedic wanted to protect the man's vertebrae, he said, "like in the NFL."
The driver of the Mustang walked away from his steed on his own. He was offered a chair from Chinese Express, formerly a dollar-restaurant--now $1.85. The restaurant also donated napkins, which did a pretty good job of mopping the blood from the Mustang driver's knees.
On-lookers, including eight Berkeley policeman, marveled at the scene. What caused the horse to flip, the crowd wondered.? At least one of the on-lookers claimed to have seen a flipped Mustang before. "Even at twenty miles per hour, a car can flip," he said.
That on-looker was a cop, who said that, with a previous police department, he had flipped his squad car when he rear-ended a perp. "I was only doing 20mph," he said.
A Medhead, with a Phd. in Physics offered an explanation, which involved, gross vehicle weight, car body composition, velocity, and a twist of fate. But he wrapped it all up into the "ramp effect," theory. Medheads can be found at the notorious Caffe Mediterraneum on Telegraph.
According to this typical Med-style coffee-house jive, the wheel of the Tang churned a trail through the front left fender of the Beemer, which served as a "ramp."--launching the horse. An accompanying photo from the point of view of the Beemer's fender, seems to support the ramp effect theory.
Now that the mystery of the flip is explained, we can move on to assigning guilt, even though the real culprit was fate. According to "Patchman," a patch vendor at Teley and Channing, with a spot-on view of the crash, the Beemer pulled into traffic from a parked position without signaling or checking its rear mirror.
"People may not realize that you have to signal when leaving a parking space," Patchman said.
A Telegraph Avenue business owner called the car accident, "insult to injury," after the recent Sequoia Apartments fire closed sections of Telegraph and clobbered Teley businesses. A block of Channing was closed Saturday for nearly two hours and Telegraph was flooded with squad cars, a paramedic's unit, and an ambulance.
Ted Friedman neither passed nor failed physics. He avoided it. Now he's back on his South side beat, where he relies on the kindness of physicists and other intellectuals.