“You Can’t Go Around Hitting Sh#!”

“You can’t go around hitting shit” is a phrase that I’ve said for years as a collision investigator. The other day I was thinking about this Badge415-life-rule and the following came to mind.

Life is simple. You can’t go around hitting shit if it’s not your shit. If it was your shit, no one would care because it wasn’t their shit, but if it was, then they would lose their shit.

Why do people watch pursuits on TV? They’re basically waiting for the bad guy to crash and hit someone else’s shit. What if the the bad guy carjacks someone’s shit during the pursuit? Then people want to see if he is going to hit some shit with his feloniously acquired shit.  As you can see, it’s a lot of shit to deal with.

            How about the guy who drives his shit eighty miles per hour down your street?  I bet you would want him to take that shit somewhere else because no one has time to deal his shit if he gets into some shit involving your shit.

            This goes back to my original thought….. “You can’t go around hitting shit.”

People helping people


What does a white driver with Nazi tattoos, a black witness, two Hispanic cops and an Asian bystander have in common?

Probably not too much, but add a car accident into the story and you have quite the combination of people.

One night, I responded to a hit and run crash where a car ran a red light and smashed into the victim vehicle. The victim driver was a white male in his 30s with Nazi tattoos on his face, neck and arms. A woman and a young child were also with him.

The witness was a black man in his early 50s and the other person was an Asian male, who didn’t see the crash, but stopped to help.

Then there were the cops. We were both Hispanic.

I interviewed the black guy first because he was the witness. He told me how the suspect run a red light and crashed into the victims. After the crash the suspect fled and he chased after the car until he lost it.

At the end of the interview, I shook his hand and thanked him for stopping. The man said, “We all work hard. We have to help each other out.”


Hopefully the guy with the swastikas on his face noticed that it was people helping people, no matter who they were.

He told her what?


Photo credit- Yahoo.com

Last week I called a woman to ask her a follow up question about a collision she was in. After she answered my question she asked, “Can you tell me who was at fault?”

That’s a question I like to avoid for many reasons because it sometimes ends up with hurt feelings when I tell them. The hurt feelings are usually followed by debate, arguing, and finally acceptance.

I guess it’s the car accident stages of grief.

With a bit of dread I replied, “You were.”

Her end was quiet as she digested what I said. After a moment she broke the silence and said with passion, “The witness told me I wasn’t at fault.”

I heard this and a Steve Harvey look of disbelief flashed across my face as all of these comebacks flew through my head. I pictured myself turning to The Family Feud answer board and saying, “The witness told me I wasn’t at fault.”

Instead of a “ding” for a correct answer, a long buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz could be heard as the X flashed across the screen.

After my Family Feud moment, I gently explained to her why she was at fault. I then tried to  lighten the mood as I said, “I’ve been doing this longer than the witness.”


Was it a squirrel?


I always find it interesting at car accident scenes when someone says, “An animal ran out in front of me.”

I know it can happen, but I’m always skeptical when it’s a single vehicle crash into a parked car or an object like a pole.

The other night I responded to a traffic collision where a parked car was sideswiped. The witness saw the driver texting as he drifted onto the wrong side of the road and crash.

The driver, who was 20 years old, was nervous and fumbling with his phone while he tried calling his mother. He was stressed and having a hard time focusing when I asked him what happened.

He said, “An animal ran out in front of me.”

Ah, the phantom animal. They, like the phantom car, have caused many collisions in my career.

“What kind of animal was it?” I asked.

That question always confuses people and it’s funny to watch them figure out the randomness.

Random is the name of the game to having fun on this job. That’s when I asked, “Was it a squirrel?”

The look on his face was priceless. With raised eyebrows, I could tell the driver was wondering why I asked about a squirrel in a suburban neighborhood. “No, it was small,” he replied.

“Are you sure it wasn’t a squirrel?” I asked again.

“No, it was a rodent.”

“Is it possible it was a squirrel?”

After each squirrel question he got more confused by the minute. I finally stopped and told him what the witness saw. With a deep breath of defeat, the driver confessed there wasn’t an animal. Not even a squirrel.

“If there was an animal, what would it be?” I asked.

With an unsure tone he said, “A stray cat?”

“A shaved cat?”

“No, a stray cat.”

The randomness of night shift……

We need to stop meeting by accident


It was a late Friday afternoon when I was sent to a hit and run crash. When I arrived, I saw both drivers sitting in their cars. Two other officers were already on scene.

After I interviewed both drivers, the suspect was detained for the DUI investigation. While we waited the suspect said, “I called my boss and told him I was going to get booked.”

“You called your boss already?” I asked.

“Yeah. I told him I wasn’t going to be there on Monday.”

That was pretty funny because he made that call before I got there. I guess that pitcher of beer and the shot of whiskey he drank told him which way this was going to go.

I made small talk with him and learned he was arrested for DUI about five years ago. I asked, “Did you crash or were you stopped?”

“I crashed.”

I asked him where and when. It just happened to be on a Friday night , which was my normal work day so I asked, “Was I there?”

I asked this because every so often I run into past crash cusomters. Well, actually they run into someone else and then I show up.

He starting giving me details about the collision and asked me, “Do you remember?”

“No. I take a lot of crashes, so it has to be different for it to stick out.”

He squinted as he looked at my name bar and said, “You were there.” He kept looking at my name and said, “I have a report at home with your name on it.”

“We need to stop meeting by accident,” I replied. At least he laughed because saying that never gets old.

A little while later I found his name in our records. He was in two different crashes in my city. One was the DUI crash he was talking about, but it was handled by someone else. The second crash was last summer. He was a passenger in that one and guess who wrote it?

Yes, Badge415’s name was at the bottom of that report. What a small world.

With a population of 350,000 people, I still find it amazing how I run into past crash customers.

I should start handling out Badge415 frequent customer loyalty punch cards with the words, “After 3 crashes you buy me Starbucks.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Better than cow shit


The other day I was driving my daughter to practice when we passed a strawberry field. She pointed it out and said something about getting some. I glanced over and it reminded me of a crash I took years ago. I looked at my daughter and said, “I had a car crash at a strawberry field once.”

She relied, “You did?”

Some crashes are easily forgotten, while others stand out. Some stand out because of what I saw or heard, while this particular one stood out because of what I smelled.

One night, I was dispatched to a roll-over crash in the eastern part of the city. I pulled up to the scene and expected to see the car either in the street or on the sidewalk. I scanned the area, but there was nothing. Then I looked at the northeast corner and saw a car deep into the strawberry field.

There aren”t a lot of fields for agriculture where I work so, having a crash at one was really unusual.

I parked and started walking toward the car. I stepped into the field and tried to walk between the rows to avoid stepping on the strawberries. There were crushed strawberries everywhere with an incredible smell was in the air.

I ended up having strawberries in the groves of my boots and some on my pants. You name it and there were bits of strawberry everywhere on the crashed car.

After I left my patrol car smelled like a bottle of strawberry soap exploded inside.

For some strange reason I felt like having a strawberry margarita after that. At least the guy didn’t crash into a dairy farm full of cow shit. I’ll take a strawberry field any day.

Do you have insurance?


On Sunday night, I went to an injury crash where a truck turned out of a gas station driveway and hit a passing car. I pulled up and was met my a hysterical woman, who told me she was injured.

She was stressed and was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. A few minutes later she was on a gurney and placed into the ambulance. After she was inside the ambulance, I climbed in so I could speak with her.

I asked her what happened and she explained how the collision occurred. During the interview she kept saying, “He doesn’t have insurance.”

I hadn’t spoken to the other driver yet, so I asked, “How do you know?”

“He told me.”

“Do you have insurance?” I asked.

“No,” she said as she got quiet.

The insurance question now became the elephant in the room. Well, in the ambulance.

I said, “Oh,” as the word hung in the air a little too long. “Sooooo, you don’t have insurance and he doesn’t have insurance?”

That’s when the realization hit her that she wasn’t in good hands with Allstate and Nationwide wasn’t going to be on her side. Geico wasn’t even going to save her 15% on her car insurance.

It was almost like the Price is Right loser theme song was playing in the background at that moment.

Talk about a bad day. 

Could it be any closer?


Starbucks and Subway in the background

On Friday night, I drove to my favorite Starbucks to type reports and grab a drink. I was even feeling adventurous and got a chicken and artichoke panini.

I ate my sandwich and had my drink as I typed at the same time. My fingers were hitting the laptop keys with the effortlessness of a pianist playing Rhapsody in Blue.

Thats when it all came to an end when another injury crash went out down the street. The location of the call was maybe 150 yards away. At least it was close. It’s the little things, right?

I gathered all of my paperwork, got my drink and walked out to my car. I pulled out of the parking lot and saw that the crash was much closer than 150 yards. It was more like 100 feet away. It actually took me longer to get my stuff and walk out to my car than it did to drive there.

I parked my car in the middle of the street with my overhead lights on and called for a tow truck. I interviewed the drivers and wrapped it up pretty fast. After the tow truck was done cleaning up I went back to my Starbucks staging area. The Barista said, “You’re back already?”

“Yes, and I’ll take another black tea.”

What kind of animal was it?


A few weeks ago I was sent to a call where a car crashed into a tree on the east end of our city. When I arrived, I saw the car in the middle of the street with major damage and fluid running downhill.

There was a pine tree on the side of the road with a large battle scar from the impact. The tree stood upright and strong as if to say, “Is that all you got?”

The officers on scene told me the driver crashed because of an animal.  I had heard that one before. Which animal was going to be blamed tonight? I was guessing a dog or a cat.

The woman, who was in her 30s, told me, “An animal ran in front of my car.?

I couldn’t resist as I asked, “Was it a squirrel?”

The woman gave me a confused look as she shook her head. She said, “I think it was a coyote. I have a picture.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her phone. She looked at her phone for a few seconds and then showed me a picture of a coyote in her backyard.

“Is that the coyote that ran in front of your car?” I asked.

“No!” She replied with a hard shake of the head.

“Which way was the animal running? Was it going that way or that way?” As I pointed to each side of the road.

“It was in the middle of the street.”

“Was it a squirrel?”

“No,” she said again with a strange look.

“What did you do?”

“I closed my eyes and the airbag went off.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a squirrel?”

“Why do you keep asking if it was a squirrel?”

“Because its funny,” I replied with a big smile.

She heard that and burst out laughing. I was glad she laughed because I wasn’t sure how she was going to take my joke.

There’s one thing for sure about police work. Sometimes you just have to have fun out here.

“I have a clean record”


“234, we just got rear ended,” said an officer on the radio.

He gave his location and advised there were no injuries. I grabbed the microphone and said, “729 en route.”

When I arrived, I saw both vehicles in the southbound #2 lane at the intersection. The officer told me they were stopped for a red light when they were hit from behind.

He also told me the SUV’s driver was unlicensed. I shook my head as I thought about the two times my patrol cars were hit by unlicensed drivers.

I walked up to the woman, who was still in the driver seat, and asked her to step out of the car so we could talk on the sidewalk.

“You want me to drive over there?” She asked.

“No, you don’t have a license. Come out and we’ll talk on the sidewalk.”

“I can drive over there,” she said as she pointed to the right.

I was pretty sure she’d already done enough driving for tonight. After she exited the car we walked to the sidewalk. Once we were safe on the sidewalk the woman said, “I have a clean record.”

Well, that made me feel better…..

During the interview I learned she applied for a driver’s license and failed the written test. When I heard that, I almost pointed to the cars and said, “You failed the driving test too,” but I held my tongue.

When the interview was over, I gave the driver a card with the report number on it and said her car was getting impounded. She responded by asking if she could keep the car.

Keep the car? Really?

Let me get this straight. She was unlicensed, failed her test, crashed into a police car and now she wanted to keep the car???

Hum, let me think about it…… No.