A familiar sound

Some sounds should be common. Others ought not to be.

The first time I heard this noise, I had just interviewed Plainfield author JM Benjamin at Dunkin Donuts on Front St a few hours earlier for a piece to be released the following morning. It was October 17, 2013 and I had the zeal of a brand new blogger in the heat of my first Board of Education race. With tired eyes I transcribed his every word late into the night when an indescribable din came from outside.

Perhaps it’s Hollywood special effects, but for whatever reason, I identified the terrifying rumbling of a car flipping. It was – a block away in front of the old Sunday Afternoon Club on Watchung Ave nearing Kensington. Amid glass pebbles and skid marks, four young men walked out of a damaged 90s model Toyota with hardly a scratch. The car had rolled over at least twice and came to a standstill right side up. A miracle in more ways than one.

Over a year later, early this past Sunday morning I gave a friend a ride from Netherwood train station at 2:10am or so. As I prepared for bed a half hour later, I heard the same ominous noise again. It was another flipped car, this time closer, within clear view of my window. The small sedan soared high enough to clip a branch nearly twenty feet above the road before turning a front yard into a snowy debris field.


Considering the circumstances, passengers were lucky to survive beyond impact. A woman was taken from the car by a driver who pulled over, while EMTs and the Plainfield Fire Department freed a man fifteen minutes later. We can only hope that they recover.

In two full years living near this intersection, I’ve experienced two cars flip. According to neighbors, there was at least one more serious accident near the corner of Watchung and Kensington during 2012. Perhaps something needs to be done. Miracles can’t continue forever.

I just hope to never hear that sound again.

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