I’m not writing this post to be accusational, and I have no inside knowledge of the story whatsoever, but just come with me for a quick walk here. Was the weirdest story of the 2011-2012 NHL season not the Jonathan Toews one-man car crash that went *poof* in a cloud of ninja smoke and just…never happened? (Yes, I waited for the off-season to throw out this question.)
It was crazy how little we heard about why it happened, and just how much we heard about Toews’ condition. Obviously his health was the most important thing, but after he turned out to be “good,” I was ready to move from “the most important thing” to “what the hell happened there?”
Here’s the first story I read that day about how it happened:
From Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, the Blackhawks excellent beat writer:
The police report said Toews, who declined medical treatment, was not injured and no citations were written, although the wreck caused property damage. Toews was driving southbound on Garvey Court when he turned left onto eastbound Lake Street and struck the “L” track pillar. He had no passengers in the car, which was towed from the scene.
Earlier in the post, Kuc says Toews “clipped” the support beam. Look at the picture at the top of this post. Dude hit that beam SQUARE. Like, usually if you’re about to hit something, you’re turning out of the way and it’s on one side of the car. He didn’t so much as scratch a headlight. Did he even know he was about to hit it?
Toews made a left turn from southbound Garvey Court on to east bound Lake Street. While merging into the right lane, Toews’ car struck the steel beam, Chicago police said. No citations were issued in the one-car crash. Toews was not administered a field sobriety test and refused medical treatment, police said. The vehicle was towed from the scene, police said.
I know nothing about that part of town, the traffic patterns there, nothing. But it was a single car crash that was a direct hit on a pillar. Something obviously went awry, and it feels like nobody even bothered to ask what.
Almost every piece of writing I saw included something along the lines of Toews being contacted via text (I believe the text exchange was with Kuc of the Tribune), and JT responding “It’s nothing serious at all. I’m good.”
Oh, okay, moving on then.
But details were murky that morning.
Here’s a post from NESN entitled “Report: Jonathan Toews Taken Away by Ambulance After Car Crash, While Police Held Back Autograph Seekers.”
Toews was driving his black AMG Mercedes-Benz and crashed into a support beam, according to CBS Chicago. The report indicates he was taken away in an ambulance and police had to stop passers-by from videotaping, taking pictures and asking Toews for autographs.
Wait, but I thought he “refused medical treatment?” That doesn’t sound very ambulance-y-y. I believe that’s the complete opposite of “no medical attention,” unless it was just a quick alternative to a cab. Maybe they took him home?
And I remember that discussion on Twitter that morning, about how gross it was that people were trying to get his autograph while he was being put in an ambulance. But then…apparently he didn’t leave in an ambulance?
The Blackhawks denied it that day, saying Toews didn’t leave in an ambulance (I can’t find their exact statement, but their denial is mentioned on a large number of credible websites, and I believe Kuc confirmed their denial on Twitter).
Here’s from the CBS report mentioned in the NESN post:
“I saw his car in the pole,” Theron Banks, an employee at Steak Express said. “I came out. People were everywhere. Toews was in the ambulance. People were videotaping and taking pictures and trying to get autographs, but police said they couldn’t get autographs.”
Banks said Toews was alone and left in the ambulance. The Blackhawks deny that he left in an ambulance, but a security guard who did not want to provide his name, also said Toews left in the ambulance.
So the club came out and said that he didn’t leave in an ambulance at the time, which came off as even more fishy.
Why were people lying about the ambulance and autographs if the Hawks were being honest? And if the Hawks weren’t being honest, well what the shit was going on there?
I’m not trying to play gumshoe here, it just boggles me how quickly this disappeared with nary a question or a hypothesis. I’m just laying out what happened and trying to piece together some type of theory (wait, that’s like, the direct definition of playing gumshoe. Busted. …By me.)
Possible reasons it happened, and bear with me here – spitballing:
* He was under the influence of something. Highly unlikely (it was 9:22 a.m., after all), but these are just some possibilities.
* He was concussed at the time, maybe he was having some spatial issues, depth perception problems, or too many stimuli just got to him.
* He was texting or something else stupid – dropped a wrapper and went to pick up? – and the support beam caught him not looking like Willie Mitchell at centre ice.
* He got cut-off, I dunno. Maybe the pole moved.
Now try to list the reasons it’s completely normal for someone to run headlong into a pole and not have an explanation for it?
* Embarrassment. (For seeing it, nothing happening, and hitting it? I think his career has shown he’s a bit more adept at avoiding objects than that.)
In Toews case, “Yeah, he totally just drove into that pole, but don’t worry, he’s fine, he’ll play soon. Yes, his concussion is improving. No, I’m not worried about our goaltending” was a good enough explanation, apparently.
I know this is awfully “conspiracy theory” of me – hey, it’s the off-season here – but something about it feels cover-up-y-ish. Smoke bomb, poof, nothing to see here. He’s not at the hospital, not at the rink, he’s just…good.
Am I taking crazy pills here, or does about the situation smell a little peculiar? Did the police let him go for something because he is who he is? Or was it just one of those run-of-the-mill pole-run-intos that we all have in our Mercedes every now and again?
The Toews Car Crash is my Area 51. I just want to know what really went down.