Sometimes you should just listen to your partner.
One Sunday night 1996, I was working a graveyard shift a few days before Christmas. It was a cold night, and the radio was dead. I was sitting in a parking lot next to my partner Rich as we counted down the hours until our weekend started.
It was around 2AM and I was bored. I told Rich I was going to drive around and stop a car. Rich told me it was Christmas time and to stay put. He said something bad could happen.
I told him nothing was going to happen and drove off.
What could go wrong?
There were hardly any cars on the road, but I still drove around. I saw a car that was weaving and stopped it to see if the driver was DUI. The car stop was made on a six-lane road in front of the Convention Center. We were in the far right lane.
I walked up to the car and spoke to the driver. I stood at his driver door for a minute and was satisfied he had not been drinking. I let the driver go and then walked back to my car to leave. As I walked back to my unit, I glanced up and didn’t see any cars coming up from behind.
It was dead quiet out there.
The only sound was from my boots and the squeak of my leather gear as I walked. I reached my driver door and took another peek to my right.
I then saw a car coming right at me. The front end was only feet away from my patrol car. It only had its parking lights on.
I was inches from my driver door and there was nowhere for me to go. I leaned toward my car with my hips as I arched my back. I braced impact.
I then felt the wind of the passing car as it missed me.
My sergeant just happened to be behind the car at the time and stopped it. The driver simply forgot to turn her lights on.
I can still see that car coming right at me. I can clearly picture the street lighting and the road like it was yesterday. I can still feel the angle of lean I made toward my car. As weird as it sounds, I can still feel the wind of that passing car as I typed this. It’s been eighteen years and I still remember how lucky I was.
I should’ve listened to my partner’s gut feeling.
By the way, that was the last car stop I made that night…..