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.