Grass Valley, CA — An area woman admitted Thursday that she spent almost five minutes driving around Grass Valley’s Roundabout in her 2008 Buick LaSabre after not being able to exit properly. Mary Shilling of Penn Valley was on her way to Dokimo’s pharmacy on East Main Street when she entered the Roundabout on Idaho-Maryland Drive after exiting the freeway. Trouble began almost immediately before she entered the circular traffic-control junction when she was intimidated by aggressive drivers already in the Roundabout.
“Why couldn’t they just put a signal there?” Questioned a frustrated Ms. Shilling in a Gish Gallop interview after her harrowing roundabout adventure. “I just sat at the yield sign waiting for someone to let me in. No one did that.”
According to sources at the scene, Ms. Shilling gripped her steering wheel and was leaning into it as she made her way from the Idaho-Maryland egress to the Main Street ingress Thursday. Witnesses said she appeared to be very anxious and had to be “nudged” into traffic with many horn honks.
“I was behind her,” said Janet Williams of Cedar Ridge. “I could see that she was elderly. I mean, the Buick, right? Anyway, after about 2-3 minutes of her not moving. I tooted my horn. You know, a light tap that says I’m not an asshole, but I need you to move. Well that didn’t work. So another minute went by, I finally laid on my horn and she lurched into traffic nearly missing this Oscar Meyer Weinermobile replica.”
After Ms. Shilling made it into the Roundabout, she stayed there another five minutes as she was stuck in the inner lane and could not make her way into the outer one. Because traffic moves quickly, no one noticed that she had made almost 33 revolutions. That is, except for Union 76 Gas Station Employee Carl Young who had just finished his shift.
“Yeah, I was walking home to my apartment and I noticed this lady going around and around,” said Mr. Young. “At first I was like, ‘that’s hella funny.’ But after about 15 times, I started to get concerned. So I helped her out of the situation.”
What happened next was a little bit of Sierra Foothills bravery and nuttery. Mr. Young walked into the oncoming traffic and stopped all the cars to clear the way for Ms. Shilling. People at the scene said he started acting like a traffic cop, directing cars to stop. More remarkably, the other drivers followed his direction. At first, Mr. Young’s appearance startled Ms. Shilling and she made an additional 2 revolutions before exiting onto East Main Street with a celebratory horn-honk and a wave.
“I don’t know who that young man was, but he sure helped me out,” continued Ms. Shilling. “If it wasn’t for him, I would have been stuck there all afternoon.”