No valet parking available here…

Ever known one of those guys who always seems to be having car trouble?

Vacaville’s Bob Hind is one of those guys. But his car troubles don’t come from an unfortunate series of lemons or indifferent maintenance.

No, Bob Hind’s car troubles literally fly into his yard and onto his driveway, usually in the wee hours of the morning, frequently powered by a variety of potent alcoholic beverages and, perhaps, the driver’s drug of choice for the evening.

Not long ago the affable retired deputy sheriff was standing in his East Hemlock Street driveway examining the wreckage of his 2003 Dodge camper truck.

“That fender – the one that isn’t there anymore – had only been replaced about a month ago,” he observed. “Everything’s busted in the camper.”

The night before, a suspected drunken driver had skidded off Dobbins Street, crossed the road and slammed into the back of Hind’s camper truck, forcing it into the side of his house and attached garage.

“He was drunk – he didn’t even brake,” Hind said. “I’m not knocking the kid. He was a nice guy, apologetic – this is the seventh one.”

Over the past 10 years, Hind’s property has repeatedly been the target of wayward vehicles that have shot off both north- and southbound Dobbins Street. He’s even found himself administering emergency first aid to motorists who’ve crashed nearby.

Hind’s cars, trucks, boats and house have borne the brunt of the uninvited automotive onslaught. His property has been smacked so many times, he has trouble keeping track of all the vehicles that have been demolished by airborne drunks and flying cars.

“Oh, almost forgot – my motorhome got hit, too,” he recalled.

Some of Hind’s neighbors seem to have grown accustomed to the sounds of late night collisions coming from his yard.

“I got a call last night. Neighbor just said ‘You got t-boned again, Bob …’ “.

Hind estimated that the series of unwelcome visits from passing motorists have cost him upwards of $75,000 over the years.

“I’ve had more damage in my front yard and driveway than I paid for the house in the first place,” he said.

When the crashes started becoming a regular occurrence for the harried homeowner, he contacted the city to see if anything could be done to slow down traffic around Dobbins and East Hemlock streets.

Hind has suggested a stop light, stop sign, caution light or even speed bumps.

But the city, he said, doesn’t take kindly to amateurs trying to tell them how to handle a traffic problem.

“They will not take input from a private citizen. City Hall just tells me what they can’t do, not what they can,” Hind said. “Sometimes they put a cop down there. They write a whole lot of tickets.”

Hind wonders if he’ll ever find a solution to his uninvited car problems, but he hasn’t given up yet.

So the next time you’re driving down East Hemlock Street, stop and wave to Bob. Most likely, he’ll be the determined-looking fellow with the backhoe patiently digging a moat around his house.

Watch out for the ‘gators …

Originally published April 22, 2007

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