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Death of the Westy
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backcountrymedic
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Joined: February 17, 2006
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Location: Monterey, CA
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Death of the Westy Reply with quote

Today is a very, very sad day for me...

At 6:15 this morning, having just gotten off work from a very long shift on the ambulance, I was headed home, driving on a county road that shortcuts through one of the many agricultural fields in our area. I was following behind a pickup truck, and both of us were traveling at about 50 mph. The truck in front of me started to slow down, and then started pulling to the right hand shoulder. Then, without any indication at all, he pulled a u-turn across the road. Right in front of me. My van impacted the side of his truck, with hardly any time to hit the brakes. The entire world exploded in my eyes, and after what felt like an hour, my vision was restored, only to discover that my van was destroyed.

There is a very high concentration of migrant farm workers in this area, and often times, when they are involved in vehicle accidents, they flee the scene, as they are mostly illegals. Such was the case today. The only thing that stopped this fellow from running was the fact that his door was jammed shut, and he had a passenger, and couldn't get out of his truck past them. I forced my way out of my driver's side door, which was semi jammed shut. And made as if to run this guy down. I was still in my work uniform, which makes me look just like a cop. His eyes got as big as saucers, but he stayed put. And what do you know... he's an illegal, with no driver's license. Fortunately, the truck that he was driving belongs to his sister, who is legal, and has insurance. Needless to say, I began "mother f-ing" this guy up one side and down the other. It took every little bit of my self restraint to not beat the living crap out of this guy.

I was the only one hurt in the accident. As you all know, the seatbelt retractors in these old vans aren't what they used to be, and so my belt rests a little slack against my chest while driving. It did a great job of keeping me from flying through the windshield, but I ended up with some minor chest injuries, and as I write this, am sore as hell.

I've started the insurance claim, but being the weekend, will have to wait until Monday before I can get in the van, and really survey the damage done. As you all know, these vans are worth way more than any blue book figure can put on them. Given the design and construction, coupled with the difficulty in obtaining parts, I have a huge fear that the van may be totaled. Which makes me want to cry, as I had every intention of bequeathing my beauty to my son. My plan, is to call GoWesty on Monday, and talk to Lucas about having it towed to them. I think they could give an accurate estimate as to whether it can be repaired, or whether it would be worth doing so. They do such a good job rebuilding/restoring these vans, that I think they're about the only folks I would trust to do the job right.

So, I'm glad to be alive, and only minor-ly injured. I'm more than a bit depressed over the whole scenario though. Vicodin and Jameson's, and the beauty of my little family will get me through it. Memorial services for the Westy to be announced at a future date. If necessary that is...

-Jared
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Last edited by backcountrymedic on Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:05 pm; edited 3 times in total
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tsyn
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Joined: March 04, 2007
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Location: Grass Valley, Ca
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So sorry about your van. What a bummer!! Luckily you're ok, somewhat, from what you describe.
I live right down the hill in Grass Valley, let me know if you need any help.
Tony
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photogdave
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my God. That is horrible. I am very sorry to see this.
Best of luck with the outcome and I'm glad you're not seriously hurt.
Life sucks sometimes...
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tsyn
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry again, I thought you lived in Truckee. My bad. Didn't you live there in the past?
Anyhow, Van-Cafe is closer to you, isn't it? Those guys have a really good rep, might want to check them out.
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westylife
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bummer!

You should have kick the ever living crap out of him. Then you could have fixed him up after Laughing . I mean, how much trouble can you get into for beating up an illegal anyway?

I'm kidding of course. Way to keep your composure. I hope everything works out for you.
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Franklinstower
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Thank god it is nothing worse, that is, you, or him were not hurt badly. I just came home from the local Brew Fest in my white, '89 Westy recently converted to an ej22 with my wife, son and golden retriever, proud as can be and so thankful we get to experience driving a vanagon, cruising home - in the back seat ofcourse....and I just came upstairs to see what is happening on the Samba today...This is not what I was expecting. I can not image being in your in shoes, Fist off it is great that you okay, but potentially losing your westy is akin to losing a favorite pet.
Just remember, it is only mechanical, created by us and is nothing when compared to losing something as fragile as life.
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OilNBolts
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sorry to see this Jared. Your insurance company will likely push to total the vehicle. You need to show them comparable vehicles- model and condition- to establish value. The "book" does not apply to cars as old as these.

There was a real good thread a few months back on a similar problem...

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=281006&highlight=total

Next, that van looks reparable to me. A good body shop can do a lot on their frame rack. They can easily pull the A-pillars back to restore the door operation, and the rest is cosmetic. You'll be money ahead to repair your known van than to start over with an unknown, even if you end up out-of-pocket some significant money. Lots of good parts are available here on The Samba.

Beware of the salvage title in California. It can cause insurance problems in the future. Don't let them total it. Show them the GoWesty listings.

My opinion.
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kayakwesty
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$%^&* DUDE! First I'm glad you are okay! Hopefully your van can be fixed!
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berge13
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regrets on the accident. As others have said, coulda been worse. I was cut off yesterday going into the school parking lot to pick up my grandaughter. I chased the lady down after she blew through 5 safety cones. She said..."I'n late, luk aht me, I'n shakeeeeeng. I really wanted to kick her ass, but the principal was running up to scold her about her driving...
People!!!!
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Prior:
59 Ragtop
66 Barndoor
71 TinTop Westy
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62 Bus
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Ghoti
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illegals... Evil or Very Mad
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r39o
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OilNBolts wrote:
Beware of the salvage title in California. It can cause insurance problems in the future.


All the insurance company is concerned with and asks for is if you have an "insurable interest" in what you wish to insure.

You ever see them ask if you have a salvage title?

All that they seem to check is if it has any un-repaired damage. In other words the agent may go and look and take a picture. End of discussion. Please pay your premium. Done.
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scubabrian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: I feel your pain Reply with quote

I recently purchased my Westy about 2 months ago. I had just completed the body work and was preparing to take it in for paint when I got rear ended by an illegal who took off an ran. I though about chasing him down, but in a Vanagon I stood no chance against the Mustang. Another driver got the plate number but the car was sold over a year ago and never registered. Hence the claim is going to go against my insurance but the damage was only estimated at 2K so after deductable I got a whopping $900.00 to fix it.

It is very frustrating but the important thing is you were not hurt badly. The van can be fixed.

Good Luck,
Brian

85 Westfalia
73 BMW 2002 Tii,
93 Subaru Legasy (future organ donor)
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang,

Sorry....sorry....sorry.



I wouldn't take the van to GoWesty. They are not an auto body place.

Give Seth Hatfield at Mastercraft Motors

http://www.mastercraftmotors.com/maintenance.nxg

a call in Santa Barbara. He has as an auto body place AND puts Subaru motors in Vanagons. I'm not pushing the Subarus..... but he's an auto body guy with intimate knowledge of Vanagons.



Good luck with this,






- Chester
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ddonnell
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Down here in So. Cal, most of us (legals) are feeling somewhat responsible for being the safe drivers. Not being too racist, most asians can't see and the Mexicans have the back of their pick-up trucks too full to see out the back or have too little money to fix their brake lights, brakes, etc.

Glad you are mostly OK.


Such a sad story but glad you are OK.

#Sleep Keep popping those vics and pounding those beers and you will be feeling better in no time at all.
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ddonnell
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

berge13 wrote:
Regrets on the accident. As others have said, coulda been worse. I was cut off yesterday going into the school parking lot to pick up my grandaughter. I chased the lady down after she blew through 5 safety cones. She said..."I'n late, luk aht me, I'n shakeeeeeng. I really wanted to kick her ass, but the principal was running up to scold her about her driving...
People!!!!



I saw you driving today on the 22. I think you were the only one using their blinker today.

I had to drive my explorer because Dewey was acting up.



Seriously though, some bad drivers out there.



Be careful and good luck all,

Davis
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1966 Baja "The Beast"

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berge13
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
Well, the illegals... they have s sense of entitlement now. Last year, I picked up 3 guys from Home Depot; 90 bucks total for the day - 30 each. Last week, picked up 2 guys. they wouldn't even board until I promised 'em 80 bucks each!!!!
SI SE PUEDE My ASS!!!
Berge
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"If someone believes in you, well that is just the greatest thing in life..."
Berge;1972
85 WBX GL
Prior:
59 Ragtop
66 Barndoor
71 TinTop Westy
69 Karmann Ghia
62 Bus
83.5 Vanagon
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Chuck77
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though I love my van, at the end of the day it is still a thing and things can be replaced. It is good to hear that you were not seriously hurt, sorry to hear about your van. I'm sure the boys at GW will do her up right.

I'm thinking about new seat belt tensioners now...
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

berge13 wrote:
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
Well, the illegals... they have s sense of entitlement now. Last year, I picked up 3 guys from Home Depot; 90 bucks total for the day - 30 each. Last week, picked up 2 guys. they wouldn't even board until I promised 'em 80 bucks each!!!!
SI SE PUEDE My ASS!!!
Berge


Good for them. Assuming an eight hour workday, you paid each of the first three guys $ 3.75 per hour. I haven't worked for that hourly wage since the late 1980s.


- Chester
_________________
1984 Wolfsburg 7-passenger stock sunroof
1992 Subaru Legacy EJ22 boxer motor installed.... van is now sold.... currently playing with a 1987 Toyota MR2 with 1.6 liter twin-cam motor. Better than the Subaru boxers....... I'm impressed. Well, okay, in an "apples and oranges" kind of way. Smile
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pgurnee
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you are basically ok Jared.
I am in the midst of my own ins battle ...
Your van looks repairable, Hope so. These trucks are a lot stouter, thankfully, than I thought.
Good Luck
Paul
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levi
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn...... Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

Such a sweet van!

I'm thinking full front clip welded in.
Had a website bookmarked showing the process being done to another vanagon that had a similar experience, and it ended up looking pristine. Don't know if I still have that saved or not.
Yours too will also be fine again some day, hopefully.

I'm hoping that you find your full measure of justice out of this, however it may come.
I'm glad you were wearing your seat belt. I must confess that on occasion, I am slacking in that regard. You may have just saved my butt.
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