School board candidate Carla Quirk says she didn't intend to mislead police about crash
JANESVILLE — Janesville School Board candidate Carla Quirk admits she should have taken her time and not been in such a hurry after a traffic accident with a neighbor's parked car March 1.
"You know, it was Carla being in a hurry," she told The Gazette. "I need to take a breath and not be in such a hurry and not do too many things at once. It was like I said just a minor, minor accident."
According to a Janesville police report, Quirk told officers she thought someone had hit her Chevy Avalanche while she was shopping at Woodman's.
After reviewing parking lot surveillance video at the store, police found no evidence of anyone being near her car.
Later investigation led Janesville police to suspect Quirk had actually slid into a neighbor's vehicle parked on the street, according to the police report.
Quirk, who said she is hearing impaired, told The Gazette she had forgotten her purse at home and had driven around the block to retrieve it.
"I was just coming around the corner, I hit some snow," she said. "It had snowed. I didn't have my truck in four-wheel drive, and it apparently ended up popping the tail light of my neighbor's vehicle."
The police report indicates the front bumper of Quirk's vehicle was "pushed in."
Quirk said that because of her hearing impairment, she was unaware of any problems until she arrived at Shopko and heard that something wasn't right with the vehicle.
"I wasn't sure if I hit anything or if it was my back tire hitting the curb because my perception is off," Quirk said.
"I got to Shopko, and I could hear that something wasn't right, and so I'm, like, great, and I looked down and there was more damage than I even could have even imagined, and so that's why I thought someone had hit me," she said.
She later called police from work, telling them she believed her car had been hit in the Woodman's parking lot, according to the police report.
Police reported finding the neighbor's damaged car parked on the street near Quirk's home and pointed it out to her.
"The reality didn't set in until I actually got home and he (the officer) said, 'Well, there's damage here,' and it's like. 'Oh my god, I really did.' It was unfortunate, and it was my being in a hurry and being in denial, but, I mean, I'm glad that I called the police. I'm glad it all worked out."
The police report says Quirk at first denied any knowledge about what occurred with the parked car until the officer told her it "could become a criminal case."
Quirk told The Gazette she had no intentions of misleading the officer.
"I'm glad my insurance company was able to get a hold of the neighbor, and it's something that I feel badly about," Quirk said. "This is the first traffic ticket I've ever gotten in my entire life. I'm a careful driver. I get teased about being a careful driver. It's an unfortunate learning experience, but it happened and I needed to take responsibility for it and now I can move on. God, I'm just so thankful that it wasn't worse."
Quirk was cited for hit and run and driving too fast for conditions.
"What I should have done was gotten out and looked at that point, but I didn't think anything had happened," Quirk said.
Quirk said it was a learning experience and that she should have taken the time to see if anything happened "instead of being in a hurry."
"When I got in my driveway and ran in the house to get my purse, I should have looked then instead of being in the mode of getting to the store, getting to my second job and getting all of my things done," Quirk said. "I should have paid attention to what I was doing. That's what I should have done."
"In hindsight, it was a mistake, and I regret that," she said. "It could have saved everybody a lot of time and trouble if I would have just looked."