Ralph Devereaux, 39, of Berkeley, CA, has been confirmed dead by autopsy this morning. W. Hart, of Berkeley, CA, was there to witness the entire incident.
"To be upfront," Hart confided, "I don't feel sorry for the man. But, I did what I could to save him."
In an effort to recreate the incident, Hart gave us a play by play rundown of the last minutes of Devereaux's life.
Interview Transcript (10/10/2019):
HART: "I was waiting to call my friend at 1pm, so I was sitting on a bench next to a payphone downtown reading the newspaper, just minding my own business. And I really didn't notice that he was there, until he was - quite literally - on top of me. The dumb jerk just flat out walked into me sitting on the bench. At least, it was he that toppled over, and not me!"
US: "Did he sustain any injuries?"
HART: "Well, he sort of fell back onto the ground after he walked into me. He had been staring intently at his iPhone, so he had nothing to break his fall. He fell onto the concrete and bruised up his elbows pretty badly I think there might still be some blood where he fell."
US: "But that's not what killed him?"
HART: "Oh, no, of course not. What's a little scratch? I was a bit miffed though, and confused what he was doing in the first place. So I said, 'Dude, you still have a cell phone?'"
US: "And what did he say?"
HART: "I'm not sure he got the question the first time, he was like:
DEVEREAUX: 'What do you mean?', and I said, 'Well, I ditched my cell phone long ago and upgraded to a landline'. And he just gave me this weird look and was like, 'Why the hell would I want a landline? I got everything you could ever love with my mobile: dropped calls, crappy call quality, unreliable in emergencies, and free brain cancer! You can't get those with a landline'.
HART: 'You can get some of them if you get a cordless phone.'
DEVEREAUX: 'Yeah, I guess that's true. But I can't get my news feed on a cordless phone.'
HART: 'You could read the newspaper,' (gesturing with his newspaper).
DEVEREAUX: 'Why the hell would I want to read the newspaper? There's no fake news in there.'
HART: 'I guess you're easy to please then.'
HART: "And with that, he started looking back at his mobile, he was literally glued to it - from that moment to the last moment of his life. He proceeded walking down the street. And right as he got to the intersection, I heard a big "vroom", I looked over, and it was some hotshot dude trying to see if he could beat the yellow light. And this idiot walks right into the street, starting at his iPhone, and one second he's in the street, the next, the car is there, and the next moment, neither of them are."
US: "Whoa! Slow down. So that's when he died?"
HART: "Well, I'm not entirely sure, I just leaped up and the payphone was right there - I just dialed 911. The dispatcher came on. I said, 'Operator, there's a man down at the intersection here. A car just ran him over. I literally see bones in the street. Can you send an ambulance?"
US: "Ha! More likely they would send the undertaker instead.
HART: "Ha! Good one. Yeah, I kind of left them up to them. I wasn't quite sure where I was, so I asked the dispatcher if she needed my location. But she said, 'Nope, I've got your exact location right here'. I'll send an ambulance right over.', and then it was like, duh, I'm calling from a landline, of course she knows my exact location."
US: "I'm sure Devereaux didn't appreciate that."
HART: "Probably not. I thought about humoring him, and finding somebody who still had a cell phone so I could call 911 from that. But, I thought it would be nice if the police showed up that day, at least."
US: "And how long did it take them?"
HART: "They were pretty fast. I was literally thanking the dispatcher, and as soon as I hung up the receiver, I heard sirens wailing in the distance. They got louder until they got to the intersection."
US: "And what did you do then?"
HART: "That was it for me. I went back to minding my own business! My watch gave me 1:00, so I got my twenty-five cents out and called my friend up!"