Some of you feel I messed up? Easy to say when you weren't there. It would've taken exceptional alertness, reflexes, and paranoia to have avoided that one. Someone fiddling with controls on the dash would have had no chance of dodging. Even just chatting with passengers was enough of a distraction.
If I'd thought that guy was likely to run the light, maybe I could've avoided it. But I could not even see him until we were pretty close. He was hidden behind the earthen embankment built for the overpass, and I had just crested another overpass for a railroad. So I had maybe 3 seconds I could see him to evaluate whether he was a threat that needed attention or whether I should pay more attention to whether someone was coming up behind me (quite likely when you're going 10 mph under the limit), whether one of the many slower cars in front of me was going to do something (you never know when someone will get impatient and change to your lane right in front of you as you're catching up, forcing you to hit the brakes), and whether someone on that same cross street but coming from the other way and waiting to make a right turn was going to pull out in front of me. Simply too many things to watch. I didn't spend any time speculating that he might not stop, as the odds of that were so low. When red lights are run, it's usually someone trying to beat the light, not someone rolling into an intersection after cars have already been through on the cross street. So it seemed extremely unlikely. That instant decision let me pay more attention to what I judged to be the more likely hazards. This time that was the wrong call.
It seriously crimps the driving to drive as if everyone you see approaching from the side might run the stop. You'll find yourself jabbing at the brake every time it happens, driving too slow partly to give yourself time to see threats of that sort, and struggling to pace yourself and keep adjusting so that no one on a cross street arrives at an intersection at exactly the same instant as you. You just can't drive like that. I tried. I drove like that for about a week after the accident, and saw it just wasn't going to work. Drive reasonably, and recognize that no matter what you do, sometimes Darwin Awards may be earned.