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July 23, 2008

Bob Novak plows into pedestrian on K Street, attempts to flee the scene

Journalist Robert Novak plowed into a pedestrian on K Street this morning. Novak said he didn't realize he'd hit the 60-year-old man, but an eyewitness told ABC News that the victim was "splayed on the windshield" of Novak's black corvette and that there was no way that Novak could have failed to realize he'd struck the man. The bicyclist caught up with Novak about a block away from the crash and informed him that he'd just hit someone.

Watch the video. Novak was cited for failure to yield the right of way. I hope they gave him a breathalyzer test. He's slurring his words pretty badly, two hours after the accident. Novak starts talking about 55 seconds into the clip, below. At about 1:22, Novak becomes almost unintelligible when the reporters ask him how his victim is doing.

Via Think Progress.

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I normally walk through that intersection en route to work. Glad I was 12 minutes late today, and walked down 17th and onto H rather than down K. and a right on 18th.

Guess they don't call him the Grim Reaper for nothing.

Make that a left on 18th (and who needs a breathalyzer...?)

RE "I hope they gave him a breathalyzer test. He's slurring his words pretty badly..."

Novak doesn't seem drunk when he talks to the reporters.

There had to be some pickling agent involved in preserving that body.

Of course, they said the same thing about Dorian Gray.

I would guess Novak is about as likely to suffer the indignity of a sobriety test (to say nothing of hit-and-run charges) as any well-known senator. You never know, though; sometimes our justice system can surprise you.

Gee, a Republican on K Street. What're the odds, huh?


Eric Jaffa,

I agree. In my opinion, based on this limited information, I don't think he is UI. There doesn't seem to be any problem in his gait or going where he intends to go. Also, Novak is comprehending the questions of the reporters and responding without missing a beat. So there is no immediate evidence of cognitive impairment.

There were two reporters with him and neither indicated signs of inebriation, like alcohol on his breath. I can't believe the citing police officer wouldn't consider and attend to any indications of impairment, as the police are trained to do.

However, there is something different, in my opinion, about his speech. It's not exactly slurring, but his vocalizations are not as clear and easily formed as when I've seen him on TV. By itself it is not necessarily exceptional but for being a recognizable departure from how he usually sounds, and what his face looks like when speaking.

My hypotheses are: 1. It's a manifestation of great stress and disorientation that is proportional to what he just experienced - both in terms of what happened to the cyclist and what he may fear about repercussions on himself.

2. He had a highly localized stroke with highly circumscribed effects. If true, this might not be recognized by himself or others right away. It may take a day or two - possibly more.

77 year old rich white geezer in a spendy suit driving a black corvette convertible. Honestly. If not cited for hit and run, then he should at least get the book thrown at him for being a pathetic old fart driving a teenage-fantasy/middle-age-crisis car.

FYI:

"I really hate jaywalkers. I despise them. Since I don't run the country, all I can do is yell at 'em. The other option is to run 'em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that," - Robert Novak, quoted in the Washington Post in 2001.


cfrost,

Women had no right driving a Corvette. It was a man's car. It was designed and built for speed, acceleration and male prowess. A woman driving a Corvette for the sake of looking pretty and turning heads was beyond ridiculous. She was violating and trivializing male prerogatives.

Or so I thought, and said many times, long before I even knew the meaning of the phrase "male middle age crisis." I'll bet dollars to donuts that every woman reading this blog has a word for my attitude in earlier times. It's sexism.

About 15 years ago, at the radio station WBAI from New York City, some of the programing was hijacked by a few black racists who would spit out the words "old white men" with the same venom, vitriol, dismissiveness, and hate as others would use the 'N' word to express the same feelings about blacks. Thankfully, racism of any hue was recognized for what it was and they faded from the WBAI landscape.

Please take a look at your words and ask yourself if they aren't a blatant expression of ageism.

Breathalyzer might not get at what is going on. Speech can be slurred by CNS depressants like Xanax. In fact, that's the first thing that came to mind when I heard him speak. This could also be the result of any of a number of neurological conditions. Just speculation, but I'd go with doubling up on meds for anxiety -- not that I have any knowledge that he suffers from anxiety or has a prescription for a minor tranq.


Ok, we got hypothesis 3 from Dr. X: Doubling up on anti- anxiety medication. Sounds plausible to me.

Is there a speech therapist among the readers out there?

take a look at your words and ask yourself if they aren't a blatant expression of ageism

I'm getting a bit long in the tooth myself, and the older I get the more it becomes apparent to me that aging gracefully does not include acting out teenage macho fantasies. Particularly when the fantasy includes driving excessively overpowered cars around too fast for someone whose vision and reaction time is almost certainly not what it was a few years ago.

Aging gracefully also does not include fleeing from the scene of an accident. He doesn't even need to flee. He's rich as fuck after all, has lots of friends in D.C., and can hire any lawyer he wants. What does he have to worry about?


Colin, Colin, Colin.

Novak ran a red light and crashed into another car in 2004:

http://www.tmz.com/2008/07/24/right-winger-a-serial-dinger/


Colin, Colin, Colin.


Colin, Colin, Colin.


Sorry, a prior post keeps popping up again.


Friends,

Bob Novak has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. My guess is that the event of hitting a cyclist with his car motivated him to seek an evaluation. As to whether his brain tumor was related in anyway to the incident, there is no information at this time. Eric Jaffa, Dr. X, and myself could see no signs of inebriation in the video on the traffic incident. So it may be that there was an organic or neurological component to the event.

Just to clarify, Norman, I didn't say I saw no signs of inebriation in the video.

I raised the possibility that a CNS depressant besides alcohol could have been involved or that a neurological condition might have been in play.

Speech can be slurred by CNS depressants like Xanax. In fact, that's the first thing that came to mind when I heard him speak. This could also be the result of any of a number of neurological conditions.

True it didn't sound quite quite like alcohol to me -- the cognitive was relatively intact while his speech was quite impaired, but I did think he could have been either under the influence or that something organic was up. It's difficult to distinguish without having an opportunity to really evaluate someone.

There was another interesting clue that I missed because I didn't think very carefully about this (no reason to). Novak seemed a bit anxious. If his speech was slurred because of a CNS depressant, we would also expect to see a relative lack of anxiousness as well. I think it was that incongruity that nagged at me just enough to mention the possibility of an organic cause.


Dr. X,

Thanks a lot for the correction.

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