Kamikaze Curve

Settling In

     Before moving to the Tri-Cities in ’67, I purchased a 350 ’67 Camaro SS from the Penskie dealership in West Philly. By the way, this is the same vehicle mentioned in the Junkie Pursuit post. About a week later, I made the trip solo in one evening. When I arrived in town, I registered in an Endicott motel. Instead of eating in a restaurant, I would hit the local KFC and chalk up the expense on my per diem allowance. By cheating on the books this way, I was able to save some dollars for my nightly entertainment jaunts, and then charge the company.
     The next day, I asked an IBM personnel administrator—who was a brother—where I could find some action. He told me that the hippest place was called Gentlemen Joe’s, in Binghamton. That evening, I drove from Endicott to Joe’s nightclub. On the way, there was a treacherous curve on route 17C, which I had also maneuvered the previous night upon arriving in the area. The curve was severe enough to challenged a professional race car driver.

Kamikaze Curve

     After getting inebriated at Joe’s that evening, I began to have intermittent blackouts. So I began driving back to Endicott early, because I had to start work the next day. When I arrived back at the curve, I remember losing control and plowing into the right hand guardrail, then bouncing over to the left guardrail and back over to the right side again before stopping.

The map shows Kamikaze curve of Binghamton where Rt. 17 intersects with Int. 81. The green balloon shows roughly where I wiped out.

As a typical Google Map, it can be zoomed in and out and shifted in any direction.


     After getting inebriated at Joe’s that evening, I began to have intermittent blackouts. So I began driving back to Endicott early, because I had to start work the next day. When I arrived back at the curve, I remember losing control and plowing into the right hand guardrail, then bouncing over to the left guardrail and back over to the right side again before stopping.
     The next thing I remember is the police being on the scene; however, I don’t recall what excuse I gave them; because I was fading in and out of blackouts. Then the car was hitched up to a tow truck; and I was chauffeured back to the motel in a yellow. Since I wasn’t pinched or given a DUI, I assumed it was because I was new to the area and not use to driving through such a treacherous curve. In contrast, I failed to understand how come they didn’t smell booze on my breath, nor give me a field sobriety test. I surmise they realized the curves were the result of piss-poor engineering design and construction; and they couldn’t fault me for my failure to negotiate the zigzagging turns. Regardless of their reason, after this dismissal by the yokel cops, I was beginning to like the town.
     A brief note from Wikipedia states: Near downtown Binghamton, NY 17 goes around the side of Prospect Mountain at what is locally known as “Kamikaze Curve”.
     Locals will also refer to it as:”Dead man’s curve,” “Slaughter alley,” “Blood alley;” and the Rican’s call it “El Camino de la Muerte.”

The following YouTube video records a view of a vehicle touring highway 17 and passing through kamikaze curve at dusk (1:22 mins):

wbng-newsletter-screengrabFor a view of local news articles about kamikaze curve by WBNG TV Action News channel 12 click here.

To be continued

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5 comments on “Kamikaze Curve

  1. Wow! That’s some curve. Even sober would be difficult to maneuver a curve like that.

    This so reminds me of the story: WICKED TURN. Only in that story the driver encountered the Devil and not just some local yokel.

    Very interesting story Sonny.

    Paul

  2. Hello Sonny. Looking forward for you to submit a story for our contest.

    Paul

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