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We sometimes forget that the streets of Los Angeles are a uniquely treacherous place, patrolled by glassy-eyed celebrities in hulking SUVs, waiting for an opportunity to ram their vehicles into unwitting civilians just so they can feel the elusive human connection denied them by their insulating, soul-deadening fame. A story in the LA Weekly reminds about this chilling aspect of life in our fine city, as well as the fact that Mischa Barton is apparently not as skilled a driver as her paparazzi-evading peers. Above, you can see the Saab devoured by the erstwhile Marissa Cooper's hunger to connect; below, an excerpt from the LAW writer's account of what it's like when one's father gets into a fender-bender with someone who used to be sort of famous, until they wrote her off that show or whatever:

I ask him to elaborate a little bit more about her facial expressions and skin tone. "She was making this face like [speaking in a shrill, girly voice], 'Ooooops, what did I do now?' " He asked her if she had insurance: It was her mother's car and she didn't know. (Hmmm, it was Nicole Richie's car she'd borrowed when she rear-ended another guy on Sunset on March 8.)

She kept repeating something about her dogs, still in the car; she was worried about them and needed to get them home. What kind of dogs were they, Papa? "They were small boutique things, like Paris Hilton dogs. She was trying to explain to me that she was just 'looking at her dogs' right before she crashed. She said she needed to talk to her mom, so I asked if I could speak to the mom too, maybe she knows about the insurance. I got on the phone with her — she was a little hyper, with a British accent — and we figured things out."

Even though there was a dark pool of radiator fluid gathering under her car, Barton asked if she could "drive home like that? I really hope I can make it home." She was really in a hurry to get away, my father recalled. All this time, he didn't realize that Mischa Barton was anyone remarkable. With his cell-phone camera, he began to take pictures of the license plate and the damage to both cars. Only when he got the mom's last name and Mischa's first name did he remember a tabloid headline he had read a while back, "about some kind of breakup." He wanted to take a picture of her in the car, and motioned with his hand for her to lower her window, but she was already driving off. "She was too worried about her dogs!" he rationalized.

The dogs, we'll assume, made it through the ordeal without suffering too much emotional damage; we'd hate to pick up a copy of Us Weekly in the near future and read about how they've been seeing a therapist at the Chateau Marmutt who specializes in the treatment of canine post-traumatic stress disorder.

[Photo: Mr. Mack/LA Weekly]