Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Centennial Post

I can't believe I've reached my 100th post. It seems like yesterday I was sitting nervously in a classroom at the police academy trying to get through another sleep-deprived, stress induced day.

Last week I was conducting traffic duty in a closed intersection where a vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian. After striking the man, the vehicle drove down the block and hit a curb which jarred loose the headlight assembly. The broken pieces of headlight and its housing dropped to the ground. My job was to 'guard' the pile to ensure it was not tampered with. Three hours later the detectives arrived to process the scene. From what I heard, the man was crossing the street outside the crosswalk. This is the second fatal accident I've been to where the driver did not appear to be at fault but faced felony charges for leaving the scene.

One thing that amazes me is drivers that pay no attention to police cars with lights activated, traffic cones, flares, and yellow crime scene tape and attempt to drive through the closure. A woman did just that while I was standing in the closed street. She had turned left onto the closed street by driving around the police car blocking the left-hand turn lane, driving into oncoming traffic lane to avoid the cones, flares, and another police car blocking the street and was approaching the area where the detectives were processing the scene of the fatal accident. I stopped her car while on foot and asked her what she was doing.
"I need to get through to my hotel down there." she replied.
"Why do you think there is a police car parked in the left-hand turn lane back there?", I asked. "Well, I'm not from here and don't know the rules of driving."
"Do you use left-hand turn lanes in the city you're from?"
"Yes, but I need to get to my hotel on the other side and thought I could just drive through."
"There's a reason for the police cars, flares, cones, and bright yellow tape that reads POLICE DO NOT CROSS."
"I know you don't want other people driving through here but I need to get through so can I please?"
"Maam, you will have to turn around and drive around this closed intersection."

I can understand when people are confused and inadvertantly drive where they're not supposed to but the majority of drivers I encounter know the street is closed and just think it'll be okay for them to drive through because they are more important than everyone else and shouldn't have to be inconvenienced by some stranger's death. Besides, they're used to taking a certain route home and don't really feel like finding an alternate one.

A little while later, an older pickup truck drove slowly up to the police car blocking the street and parked facing the squad car's passenger door. I thought I was going to witness the world's slowest t-bone collision but he managed to stop a few feet away from impact. The driver put the truck in park, leaned his head out the window and puked all over the door, running board, and street. I don't know if he was attracted to all the lights and flares but he was obviously intoxicated. As if the vomiting wasn't enough evidence, he was asked to perform some field sobriety tests which were quickly aborted once we saw the high potential for a face dive into the asphalt. He was given a blood test and arrested for DUI. It's not often we make a DUI arrest by just parking in an intersection and waiting for them to turn themselves in.


At October 19, 2006 5:23 AM, Blogger frhe sjgg said...

Good morning Officer Gary,
Congrats on the 1ooth post !

Shame about the pedestrian. We saw more of that in the emergency room than any other incident... (unlike your guy, most weren't dead yet at that point.)

People need to be far more careful when they are walking, looking to see if the approaching vehicle sees them before they go...

And the deliberately clueless lady who wanted to ge to her hotel. It does make you wonder how come the rules apply to everyone else, doesn't it ?

Nice guy tossing his cookies. Geez. What a day. Never ceases to be interesting does it, tragedies or no...

Be safe out there.

Anne Elizabeth

At October 19, 2006 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you should just park your car more often. Never know, the bad guys may flock to you to get arrested.

That said, what did the defectives determine from the broken light?

At October 19, 2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Thomas Vickers said...

Congrats on 100.
It is a big milestone.

I understand "rules don't apply to me".

Just talk to a 13 year old. Their logic dwells on this issue

At October 19, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Officer Gary said...

The broken light showed the driver left the scene of the accident. He later returned and gave himself up but he cannot claim he stayed there the whole time since a piece of his car was a few blocks away.

Thomas -I guess I'll blame you for the adult rulebreakers since you're in charge of kids' learning during the formative years. These people couldn't possibly blame themselves so it must have been bad schooling, right?

At October 19, 2006 12:04 PM, Blogger WW said...

I'm amused that those "higher than thou" people amaze you. There's always a nice bunch of those in every town/city.
I remember when I worked the local college event here, and we had a parking lot blocked off with barricades, and a car parked behind them (in the tiny gap the barricades left). We had a guy (most likely drunk, because this was after midniht), who proceeded to drive around the barricades and up on the sidewalk, to which I walked in front of his car and told him to back up and leave. Yeah, people suck, but, some of them give you job security.

At October 19, 2006 12:58 PM, Anonymous gamma said...

100 posts, it hardly seems possible. You've done a great job keeping us entertained and informed. You make me proud, Bubba.........Mom

At October 19, 2006 5:27 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Just don't cuss out these stupid people. Friend of mine did that and got a 3 day suspension. Also, make sure you have a mag light handy for the car that blows past you without even trying to stop. You can use the maglight to bash the car as it goes by, put as many dents in that mother ****** as you can.

At October 19, 2006 8:08 PM, Blogger FroneAmy said...

My personal fave is people that rubberneck for any red/blue flashing lights. I have often offered to drive one of those billboard trucks around and park them to hide any incident where the cops/firemen/ambulance is going to be for more than 10 minutes. It wouldn't stop people from becoming total idiots as soon as they saw the flashers...

At October 20, 2006 6:32 AM, Anonymous Ronda said...

WOW, 100 posts. Congratulations. I hope you know how much we enjoy reading your blog.

Keep Safe, we love you!

The Hamaker's

At October 20, 2006 9:38 AM, Anonymous LC said...

Congrats on 100 posts! You are doing a great job of being a smart and strong cop with a kind spirit. What is there about money that makes the rich think they are above the law and above any common sense? Keep on with the great work. We are proud of you. LC & BC


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