Tahlequah Daily Press


September 17, 2012

Reporting those fender-benders

TAHLEQUAH — Most people know if they’re involved in a traffic accident in which someone is injured, and they leave the scene before officers arrive, they can be subjected to serious charges. But if they back into a car in a parking lot and simply drive away, they’re also committing a hit-and-run.

Hit-and-run cases are fairly common in Tahlequah. These accidents are especially prevalent on the truncated Second Street, where the Daily Press office is located. Many people view Second Street as a parking lot rather than a “through” street, so when backing their cars out, they’re not as vigilant as they might be downtown.

Two people recently called the Press to complain about the configuration of a newly remodeled parking lot on the NSU campus, between the Physical Plant and Leoser Hall. Both were parents who had been on campus to visit their children. One man had gone into the dorm to drop off some things for his daughter, and when he returned, he noticed a big dent in his fender. A few days later, a woman said after she backed into a car, she left a note on the windshield. The owner of the car called her the next day and told her not to worry about it. Neither parent had involved the police, but wondered if they should have, and if so, which department.

In these cases, the proper authority was the NSU Police Department, under the  capable leadership of Patti Buhl. The hit-and-run could have been investigated by her officers. And though the second case turned out OK, it’s always better to have officers witness the damage, in case an unsavory owner decides to make matters worse with a sledgehammer.

Someone’s always grumbling about parking lots at NSU and other college campuses. Parking in downtown Tahlequah poses similar challenges, and although the lots at Walmart and Reasor’s have ample room for even the biggest vehicles, fender-benders are routinely reported there as well.

But the phrase “fender-bender” implies a minor scrape, and every car owner knows even a small dent in a fender is likely to cost at least $1,000 to fix. That’s why it’s important that drivers are honest, and report accidents to the proper authorities, whether they’re the victims or the guilty parties.

Accidents in parking lots at NSU should be reported to NSUPD, those on Cherokee Nation property to the Marshal Service, and so on. But accidents on city property, or in private lots within the city limits, should be reported to the Tahlequah Police Department. Chief Clay Mahaney said that although TPD isn’t required by law to work a crash if the estimated damage is less than $500, officers will respond to all calls if requested.

It’s best to exchange information face-to-face, rather than leaving a name and number on the car, which could lead to identity theft. If the car’s owner isn’t around, go into the nearest business with the car’s tag number, and try to get help finding the owner. TPD can also assist in that regard, as well as in cases where both parties are present at the time of the accident, but it’s unclear who’s at fault. In these situations, both drivers should exchange license numbers, insurance information and phone numbers. Anyone who calls TPD about a parking lot accident has up to 72 hours to make and turn in a report. The TPD records department can provide a copy of the crash report for insurance purposes.

Funding and space limitations always stand in the way of parking accommodations, and aside from complaining publicly, there’s not much average Joes can do. But they can handle accidents with honesty and integrity, and contacting the cops is a good start. Then those involved can decide whether they want to involve insurance companies, or just handle “restitution” in the time-honored manner: with a handshake, and eventually, a check or cash.

Text Only
  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating