The Day I Witnessed a Motorcycle Accident

I was 6 years old, standing on La Duarte -- at-the-time the main road leading from Santo Domingo to the West of the Dominican Republic. I was at the corner where Morena had her fritura, her fried food place. Morena was this big, dark woman who always gave me fried beef. I'm a vegan now, but I still remember the taste of her fried food; she had the best fried plantains, and her fried chicken was better than Pollos Vitorina. I still remember it up to the point where I witnessed the accident, because that was the last time I ever ate there.
Motorcycle traffic in the Dominican Republic can only be described as hectic. A motoconcho, a motorcycle taxi, is often the cheapest, fastest way to get anywhere. I used to stand on the street corner doing the most typical José thing: observing. I would just stand at the corner of Morena's fritura and count the number of motorcycles going by. When you have no electricity -- which happened often considering the blackouts -- you have to use your imagination. Counting motorcycles was something that Morena's grandson and I would engage in on a frequent basis.
Although it would shock most people outside of the DR, you often see entire families (6 people) on a single motorcycle, and to us it was normal. However, you'd often see guys driving by and pulling stunts. Some would do reverse-wheelies, wheelies while facing the back of the motorcycle, and planking -- sometimes with no hands. Suffice it to say, there was never a dull day on La Duarte, we were endlessly entertained by the prospect of seeing a stunt.
We're standing on the corner of Morena's fritura, counting motorcycles and waiting for a stunt, when the 61st passes by. A boring one, but then a truck suddenly veers to the left. Next thing we know a guy flies to our feet. The blood soaked the whole sidewalk, some splashed on me. The whole time I remained motionless, unblinking, and the motorista did the same.
There was no time to call an ambulance because I'm not certain that Villa Altagracia had one back in the 90s. A pickup truck -- the dudes from the cement store -- stopped and picked him up. As they put him in the truck, I saw that his hand was hanging merely by the flap of his skin.
They rushed him the 6 blocks to the Seguro, the hospital, and my friend and I followed along. We took our tiny mountain bikes up the hill to the hospital probably just as fast as the cement truck. By the time we made it to the hospital, the motorista was already dead. A crowd was looking through the space between the metal window, and gawked at the lifeless corpse. I walked up to the window, jumped up, and saw a bloody body and cement-soaked hair. The cement added to my terror. I left my friend behind, and sped down the hill, walking into my house and falling asleep, not telling my family what I had witnessed.