"State your name for the record…"
I forget most of the rest. I forget a lot of things, apparently. A letter arrived by carrier to my home one day, a subpoena, hand delivered by an officer of the court. A few weeks went by, the day of the deposition arrived and I showed up, as ordered.
"You were first on scene at a fatal motor vehicle accident on Route 95 on December 9, 2007, do you recall the event?"
"Yes, I do." I'll never forget it.
"Can you tell the attorneys exactly what you saw when you arrived on scene at," a shuffling of papers, "1134 hrs.?"
"A van was on its side, broken glass, major damage. We drove past the vehicle and stopped in front of it. When I got out of the rescue I saw a childs safety seat twenty feet away from the vehicle. I saw an infant in the seat, and the infant appeared dead."
"Lieutenant, you state that you drove past the damaged vehicle is that correct?"
"Yes." I remember it vividly.
Glances between the assembled lawyers, and clerks, the stenographer stayed on task. Pens on paper, then silence.
"I approached the seat and found an unresponsive infant. Another rescue arrived on scene and I handed the seat off to them and continued to assess the accident scene."
"Did you initiate any life saving efforts?"
"Can you tell us why?"
"The other rescue arrived on scene within seconds and i needed to size up the scene."
"I looked into the van and saw two more victims. One appeared dead, the other still breathing. By now more help had arrived, a chief officer, an engine company and a special hazards unit."
The deposition continued. I told the story exactly as I remembered it, each detail clear in my mind. The incident happened years ago, but the memories from that day are embedded into my subconscious, and easily pulled to the front of my mind when called upon.
"Any more questions?"
"Thank you, Lieutenant. We have footage from the scene and would appreciate it if you could identify some personnel, we need to get more information before the case begins."
"I'd be glad to."
A TV monitor turned on, and news footage from the incident began. My rescue was there, right behind the wreckage. I never drove past it. I also learned that the child seat was never thrown from the vehicle, though I vividly recall seeing it twenty feet away from the wreckage. Nothing was as I "vividly" remembered it. Nothing. It was as if a reenactment team did a poor job of reconstructing the incident. Actually, it was my own mind that did a poor job of recreating the incident.
I have no idea how many other things that I vividly remember are actually fabrications. The mind is a strange place, bearing witness to things better left unseen must scramble things up more than I thought.
"I wish you had shown me the footage before the questions."
"Thank you for your time, Lieutenant."
And that was the end of the deposition. I doubt if they call me back.