Accidental Friends

updated 07/13/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/13/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT

AUDREY DEBASTIANI AND ALLISON Dixon keep bumping into each other. Literally. The two women first met on May 4, when Dixon's 1987 Nissan Sentra rear-ended DeBastiani's 1992 Saturn dining a five-car pileup on Virginia's Route 29. Dixon, 27, and DeBastiani, 34 and seven months pregnant at the Time, agreed the accident was "unavoidable" and exchanged insurance information. Each woman was ticketed, and a traffic-court date was set for June 3.

On the appointed day the two women, who both live in Centreville, Va., were each looking for a space in the crowded parking lot of the Fair-fax County courthouse when a row of illegally parked vehicles obstructed Dixon's view. As she swung around one of them, she plowed into the front corner of a moving car.

When she saw the driver, Dixon says, "My first thought was, 'Oh, good heavens, I've hit another pregnant lady!' But then I recognized the hair, and when she took off her sunglasses, I knew it was her. I said, 'Do you know who I am?' Her mouth just dropped."

DeBastiani, a training specialist at Electronic Data Systems, was too flabbergasted to worry about herself or her car. "It was just too much that it was the same person," she says. "I could've been hurt, and I still would have had a smile on my face because it was Allison." Says Dixon, who works in computer graphics at Mobil Corp.: "When the officer came up to us so we could exchange information, we said, 'We both already have it—we've been through this before.' " Dixon was not cited for the second collision because of the cars blocking her view.

The women, who had virtually spotless driving records until they met, have accepted indignity gracefully. DeBastiani jokes with her husband, Jeff, about naming their baby Crash. Dixon has asked her insurance agent if she qualifies for a reduced deductible for hitting the same car twice in one month. The two hope they can maintain their friendship without hitting it off again. Dixon plans to visit DeBastiani when the baby is born. DeBastiani has only one request of her new friend: "Just walk over here, OK?"

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