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I'm looking for an in-universe answer as to why the T-800 chose to escape from its vehicle rather than terminate Sarah Connor after crashing the Police car into the parking garage wall just prior to Reese being arrested. Crash

Sarah was just a few feet away in an immobile car, the police were there, but not close enough to interfere in time.

I'd like an in-universe answer from director/writer interviews, script notes, or novelizations.

Why didn't the Terminator continue its attack on Sarah in accordance with its Skynet programming before the Police arrested Reese? The opportunity was there, yet the T-800 didn't take it.

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Echoing my answer to the same question on movies SE, this is covered in the Frakes novelisation:

  • The Terminator has just suffered a substantial impact. Several systems went offline temporarily:

The police cruiser folded around the cyborg like a cheap accordion. Terminator’s vision dropped out first. Then all the systems in its microprocessor went offline due to the horrific impact to its hardened chassis.

  • It's been damaged in the gunfight. Its arm is in a very poor state and it has "total occlusion" of the left eye. It needs to determine the extent of the damage caused:

A shadow among shadows, Terminator climbed with slow, patient steps up the fire escape to his second-story window. It avoided using its disfunctioning right wrist until it could determine the full extent of damage it had sustained in the initial combat.

It had taken the cyborg nearly an hour to get from the site of the crash back to its hotel room.

It had moved on foot for the first couple of miles, allowing the systems to come fully on line in order to assess their condition. Aside from the wrist, there was almost total visual occlusion of the left eye. The eye itself seemed to be functioning properly. It was the surrounding tissue that was hindering performance.

  • It knows where its targets are likely to be, so there's no desperate urgency in getting to them:

Starting with the As, Terminator rapidly dialed every police station in Los Angeles until it reached Rampart Division.

Now it was time to move out. The target was waiting.

  • This does give insight into how it had to come to its senses from the police car. But in reality, it would have had to have taken some time, longer than when the police would find out that it would have escaped. This actually would support my current question; however, does not explain how the T-800 is that quick enough to just walk away from the police car unnoticed. – Wanting Answers Jun 16 at 13:40
  • This is my recent question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/214540/… – Wanting Answers Jun 16 at 13:41

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