I told the 911 operator that a car had just rolled over in front of my house.

She asked, “What is the car’s color and make?”

I stammered for a moment, trying to puzzle out how to respond in a way that would clarify the apparent misunderstanding. I was sure that I’d spoken clearly. The car was upside down. Its color and make would no longer be its most distinguishing features. I said, “I don’t know. It’s dark and I’m on my way out there.”

The driver was laying in the street with his arm pinned under the roof of the car. In the darkness, I read the print on his t-shirt as blood pooling across his chest. I was sure that his arm was flattened to pulp.

My neighbor was already standing over him. He asked, “Is there anyone else in the car?”

The driver answered, “No. Just me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I messed up.”

A group of neighbors tried to lift the car off of him. We barely nudged it, but he got his arm free. Then he jumped straight up and fell straight back down to the pavement. He tried to stand again and I grabbed hold to keep him from crashing to the ground. He careened backwards several steps, pulling me with him. When his feet stopped moving, I regained control and eased him down to the sidewalk into a seated position.

I could see more clearly after getting him away from the car. His shirt was clean. The only blood that was visible was a scratch on his face. When the police came, I told them his arm was injured. He would need first aid. He said, “No. My arm is fine, and demonstrated that he’d retained his arms’ full range of movement by stretching them out and back in an aerobic fashion.

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