The puppy and the steering wheel

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On Thursday night, I went to an injury crash involving a parked car on a busy residential street in the central part of the city. When I got there, I saw the driver sitting on the curb with fire personnel. His right eye was purple and swollen shut like Rocky Balboa after 15 rounds with Apollo Creed.

I looked at the scene and could tell the driver was northbound when he veered to the right and hit a parked truck.

I also saw a woman sitting on a retaining wall with a small dog in her arms about ten feet away from the driver. I dind’t pay attention to her because I thought she was one of the many onlookers, who were standing around and watching the show.

After the fire guys were done, I walked up to the driver and asked him what happened. With quivering lips he said, “I had my puppy on my lap.”

I looked back at the woman with the dog and realized the driver’s four-legged passenger must’ve had a rough ride.

The driver said, “My puppy put his head through the steering wheel. I pulled his head out and then tried to swerve away from the truck.”

After the driver was done telling me how the collision occurred, I said, “Doggone it.”

The joke hand grenade was in the air waiting for the driver to get it, but he never did. At least Noggie, who was standing next to me, got it.

After I was done with the interview, the driver sat on the curb and called someone. While he was on the phone, his voice changed and he became upset. I could tell from the conversation that the person on the other end didn’t believe his puppy story.

At one point he said, “I wasn’t fucking texting! The dog was on my lap and he stuck his head in the steering wheel!”

He was in the middle of his argument when I walked over to him and said, “If it makes you feel better, I believe you.”

He looked up at me with the most sincere look and said, “Thank you.”

My gut feeling told me he was telling the truth. Plus, his story was so crazy it was believable. It was the least I could do for the poor guy because his eye really did look like Rocky Balboa’s after a beat down.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Need a Lyft?

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Photo courtesy of Ubereats.com

The other night, I responded to the parking lot of McDonald’s for a traffic collision involving a car and a pedestrian. The fire department and two other cops were already there when I arrived.

I saw a car stopped near the drive-thru window with a dislodged headlamp and a man sitting on the ground in front of it. The man, who was in his mid-fifties, told the fire fighters he didn’t want to go to the hospital.

They went back and forth about the man’s injury before it was decided he was going to get in the ambulance. They gurney was wheeled up to him and I jumped in to ask about the crash.

The man replied, “I work for Uber Eats.”

With two ambulance guys and four firefighters there, I couldn’t resist as I said, “The ambulance is going to give you a Lyft.”

The groans and laughs made my joke worth it, even though the Uber guy didn’t get it.

There’s nothing like a bad joke to keep things interesting….

 

Too Soon?

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photo by: socalhondadealers.com

The other night, I responded to a traffic collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian on a major highway on the west side of the city. When I got there, I saw the fire truck in the middle of the street, along with a couple of police cars.

The pedestrian, who was about 45 years old, was lying in the street with fire personnel around her. She was awake and complaining about her arm. After she was loaded into the ambulance, I walked over to the driver, who was bathed in the flashing red and blue lights of the emergency vehicles.

The driver was wearing a powdered blue polo shirt with the Honda logo on it, which I recognized from the commercials. He had a serious look on his face , which I understood because of what he’d just been through. As I walked up, the officer next to the male said, “He’s the driver.”

I looked at the driver and said, “You’re the helpful Honda guy.”

A strange look flashed across his face. It was like he wasn’t sure if he should laugh, be worried or try and sell me a car.

Too soon?

The cat did it

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One thing you hear every so often is the old “an animal ran out in front of me” excuse. Yes, I realize cats and dogs have a death wish, but a parked car is always involved when our four-legged friends are blamed. It’s funny how there’s never a witness around when this happens.

Then there’s the “my steering wheel locked up” excuse. Of course, a parked car is always the victim when this happens too. And once again, no one is ever around.

A few weeks ago, I responded to a crash at 1:30AM where four parked cars were struck. When I arrived, the officer on scene told me the driver was 18 years old and not DUI.

I replied, “Let me guess. A dog ran out in front of him?”

“No, a cat. He also said his steering wheel locked up.”

Oh boy.  A cat and a locked steering wheel on the same call? Was it Friday the 13th also?

I prepared myself for a tall tale and asked the driver what happened. The driver told me he was going 10 miles per hour when the cat dashed out in front of him heading southbound. I was on the edge of my seat when he courageously swerved (spectacular movie music in the background) to miss the cat. That’s when his steering wheel mysteriously locked up at that very moment and he crashed into the parked cars on the wrong side of the road.

I was breathless, intrigued and aghast at the cat and this incredible story. That’s when I asked, “What color was the cat?”

“It was black.”

Of course, it was a black cat. An orange cat with stripes and white tipped paws would never dash out in front of a car at 1:30AM.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

What planet are you from?

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As a cop, you’re used to people lying to you. It’s part of the job. Sometimes it’s like a chess match where you have to be one step ahead of the lie. Other times, people are just plain stupid and say the dumbest things imaginable.

On Saturday night,  a driver told me he was stopped for a red light when he realized he was in the wrong lane. Instead of going straight,  he wanted to be in the left turn lane. He reversed without looking and crashed into the car behind him.

The other driver told me she was stopped at the red light when the car in front of her backed up and crashed into her.

It was nice and easy with no drama except for a DUI investigation.

During the investigation one of the passengers from the offending car told me, “She rear ended us.”

What planet was she from?

She went on to say, “I saw the gear and it was in drive. We were stopped and she rear ended us.”

Was she from plant “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?”

I shouldn’t have engaged her, but I did. I told her that both drivers confirmed how the collision occurred and she wasn’t telling the truth. Of course, she told tell me her silliness again, which made her nose grow like Pinocchio’s.

What a waste of time.  

Nothing annoys me more than hearing someone trying to influence the collision investigation with a lie. To me, this isn’t a normal lie. It’s much bigger than that.

A person’s driving record and insurance rates are at stake here. A lie like that could cost someone a lot of money over the next couple of years, or more if they are sued.

Next time how about being from plant STFU.

Number two?

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On Friday night, I met the victims of a hit and run crash in a parking lot after they chased the suspect and lost him. When I got there, I jumped into the ambulance so I could speak to the driver.

After I was done speaking to her, the ambulance left for the hospital. I next went up to her mother, who was a passenger in the car at the time. I got her information and then asked if she was injured.

The woman told me her back and chest hurt. She then added, “And my stomach doesn’t feel good.”

“Anything else hurt?”

“I feel like going diarrhea.”

I think we just hit TMI status with that one.  All I could do was shake my head as I replied, “Well, I can’t help you with that.”

You just never know what people will say next.

 

Going for a repeat

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Spontaneous statements are the hidden jewel of police work. They’re those little things people say in the heat of the moment that you can’t make up. They’re also the stuff that make for story time.

These little statements are quick and are gone in a heartbeat if you’re not paying attention. They’re like the setting sun at the beach. One minute it’s there and the next minute it’s not.

Not too long ago, I was handing a DUI crash when I stopped to watch the field sobriety tests. The suspect stood there and listened while the officer gave the instructions.

That’s when the suspect said, “I know how to do them. I’ve done this before.”

Did he really just say that? Of course, he did. This is police work and people just say the funniest shit.

I just stood there and shook my head as I silently laughed as repeat did his tests. What a mess. Hopefully he doesn’t go for a three-peat.

Frequent caller

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The other night, a medical aid call went out over the radio about a 55 year old male who was “non response.” I was close by, so I headed toward the address, despite having a losing record at CPR attempts.

Another patrol car arrived ahead of me and we entered the condo complex, which was oval shaped. The condo was on the far side, which meant speed bumps got in our way as we raced to save this guy’s life. We came to a stop as the garage door opened up. A woman emgerced from the garage and said, “He’s up stairs.”

As we climbed the stairs a man’s legs on a bed came into view. Since he was “non response” I assumed we were about to perform CPR. I was ready for another shot at it as I said to myself, “Oh sure, why not.”

I stepped into the room and saw something I wasn’t prepared for. The man was lying on his back with his head propped up on a pillow with his eyes open. The creepy thing was this “non responsive” guy was actually alive and looking at us.

It was funny because my mind was prepared for a dead guy, not one who was watching our every move. He had serious medical problems, but at least he was breathing.

I left the room and the Adam unit (2-man car) stayed upstairs. I spoke to a woman, who told me she was the man’s mother. She told me she’s called 911 many times for her son and the fire department knew who she was. Said also said, “I hope a nice fireman comes this time. They don’t seem happy to come here.”

The first two fire fighters walked in and I gave them a quick run down about the guy upstairs. The captain then walked in and I asked him, “Have you been here before?” He nodded his head slowly like he knew the patient’s history and kept going. The way he nodded his head and the look on his eyes told me he’d been here a million times. I guess the lady was right. They did know her.

I engaged the woman in small talk until the other cops came downstairs. I wished her luck and we left. When we got to our cars I told them what she said about being a frequent caller and another criminal matter I learned about related to the condo.

One of the cops said, “I’ve been here before. That guy’s sister stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver.”

Wow. It seems like everyone has been here but me. Well, now I can check this address off too.

It’s the backstories that make things interesting about the houses, condos and apartments we respond to for calls. Every corner and house has a story.

It might be interesting and funny, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know the history of the location you’re responding to. You just never know what’s behind people’s closed doors.

You’re having problems with what?

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A few weeks ago, I responded to a traffic collision where a pedestrian was hit by a truck. When I arrived, I saw a full sized truck parked on the side of the road and an injured pedestrian sitting on the curb talking with fire personnel.

The pedestrian was a male in his early 60s and looked a little banged up. The poor guy was in the crosswalk when the collision occurred.

After I was done speaking to the pedestrian, I went up to the driver of the truck and asked, “What happened?”

The driver, who was genuinely concerned for the pedestrian said, “I’ve been having problems with my blind spot.”

I had never heard that one before. In fact, I almost started laughing, but he was fragile at the movement, so I just went with, “We all have blind spots.”

He got what I was saying and explained what he meant. After he was done, I told him I knew what he was talking about because the same thing almost happened to me.

Those spontaneous statements are one of the best parts about this job. You just never know what people are going to say.

Shaking my head

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On Thursday night, I responded to a disturbance call involving a man and a woman in a parking lot. The call indicated they were arguing and the woman was following the male in a minivan.

I drove down the street and was flagged down by witnesses as they pointed to a man, who was walking southbound on the sidewalk. I also noticed a minivan in a parking lot across the street with a woman in the driver seat. The minivan’s lights turned on as I drove by and I wondered what kind of nonsense they were involved in.

I drove to the male and detained him so we could figure out what was going on. We started talking when the minivan pulled up into the parking lot and stopped. The driver called out through the open passenger window and asked, “Officer, is he in trouble?”

“I don’t know,” I replied back.

“I’m married to that ding dong,” she said.

Ding dong? I guess that meant she didn’t call him “Cupcake.”

“Pull over there and wait,” I told her.

I next asked him what was going on and what their relationship was.

“She’s my wife.”

“How long have you been married?”

“One year, but we’ve known each other for a long time.”

“Do you have any kids?”

“She has an 11 year old in the van. He’s not mine, but he’s like my son. I’ve known him all his life.”

“That’s good,” I replied.

We continued with our small talk when he spontaneously said, “She named him after me.”

“Huh?”

The man said, “She was married to my cousin. They needed a place to stay so they moved in with me. That’s how I got to know her.”

“Did she have the kid after that?” I asked.

“Yes.”

This story just turned Jerry Springer.

He continued, “She told me she named her son after me because she had a crush on me.”

“Let me get this straight. She was married to your cousin and she named their son after you, but he’s not yours? Now you’re married to her?”

“Yeah.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.