The candle call

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You just never know when something new or different is going to happen at work.

A few weeks ago, I responded to a major injury collision on the west end of the city. After the crash, one of the drivers was transported to the hospital and later died. The other driver and passenger remained at the scene and stood at the northwest corner.

A group of their friends showed up and stood by with them. Before I knew it, one of the friends was sitting on the sidewalk playing a guitar. There was a hippie like feel in the air as other people sat down next him. The only thing missing were candles.

A little bit later I saw a guy holding a Jesus candle walk into the street from the opposite corner. When he was told to stay out of the street he said, “I want to put the candle out for the guy.”

“Put it on the corner,” someone told him.

“But he died over there,” he replied.

The man figured out he needed to stay out of the street and put the candle down at the southwest corner. He lit it and a short time later the flame went out.

About an hour later I heard arguing at the same corner where the candle was. I looked and saw a two guys yelling at each other as they prepared to fight.

Didn’t they see the police cars and the cops standing in the middle of the street? First the guitar, then the candle and now a fight? Was it a full moon?

We walked over and separated everyone. It was just bizarre and we shook our heads at the madness.

When it was time to leave, we called for tow trucks and took down the crime scene tape. As the tow truck drivers cleaned up, something caught my eye. The was a candle with its flame shining brightly in the night at the northeast corner. I didn’t see who left it, but it was a symbol of just how different this call was.

Now there were two candles on opposite corners. This was the first fatal crash where candles were dropped off while I was still there. Even after all these years, there’s still room for plenty of “firsts.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

She said turn left!

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The other night I responded to a single vehicle traffic collision where a car struck a fire hydrant. The driver, who was in his early 20s, told me he was driving down the street when his navigation told him to turn left.

“Siri told you to turn left?” I asked.

“No, Google maps.”

I noticed he had made a sharp left turn where the collision occurred and asked, “Was she yelling at you to turn?”

He let out a laugh and an embarrassed look as he said, “No.”

I imagined Siri yelling at him saying, “Turn left! Turn left now. Turn left or I’m going to kill you!” That would be the only reason why he turned the way he did. After my silly thought I said,  “At least no one was hurt. Do you know who Larry H. Parker is?”

“No.”

“Pull your phone out and Google him,” I said.

The driver pulled his phone out with a weird look on his face. One of the officers said, “He’ll fight for you.”

I laughed because I knew that was their motto for the commercials. They had been on TV since I was a kid and I had heard it a million times. The driver looked at us like he had no idea what we were talking about.

He typed in “Larry H. Parker” and hit send. I stood next to him as he clicked on the website. He started scrolling through the site and pointed like he found a prize as he said, “We’ll fight for you.”

“See I told you. They’ll fight for you.”

That’s just one of a long list of TV mottos that I bring up on calls all the time to get people to laugh.

I probably  watched too much TV as a kid…..

He’s freaking weird

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Have your ever had a conversation that left you saying “WTF?”

The other night I was at a crash when the tow truck driver pointed down the street and asked, “Do you remember the crash where the car went through the wall?”

“You mean the fatal?”

“Yeah.”

“I remember it, but I wasn’t working that night.”

With a look of lust the driver tow driver said, “She had a nice ass. What a waste.”

“Who? The dead woman?” I replied.

“Yeah.”

“How did you see her? Was she still in the car?”

“No, she was in the street.”

“Didn’t she get ejected?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“So, you’re saying the dead woman had a nice ass?” I replied with sarcasm.

“She had a nice ass. What a waste,” he said as he shook his head.

I was speechless. That was the fart in the elevator moment that killed the conversation. There was no where to go after that.

As the tow truck drove away, I knew that tow truck man had just achieved Badge415 blog status.  Who says that? What a weird MOFO.

You just never know what people are going to say and you can’t make this stuff up.

Picasso and his ice cream

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The other night, I responded to a crash and found a car in them middle of the intersection with front end damage and fluid splashed everywhere. There was a man, a woman and a dog from the crashed car waiting at the corner.

The woman, who was in her 20s, was injured and was sitting on the curb with her dog Picasso. He was small and had fur as white as snow. Even though his fur was white, I noticed his head had a Pepto Bismol pink tint to it.

Was this a new doggie hair style? I had to ask his owner.

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It turned out Picasso and his owners went out for a snack that night. He got his own cup of vanilla ice cream, which he enjoyed in the backseat of the car. His owner was in the front passenger seat with a large bowl of strawberry ice cream.

That’s when a truck made a left turn in front of them and they broadsided it. The strawberry ice flew into the air and got everywhere, including on Picasso.

Poor Picasso got a double whammy that night. He was in a car accident and got a strawberry ice shower at the same time. In all my years of working traffic, this was my first case of a dog with a pink hairdo from flying ice cream.

Thanks for the pictures Picasso.

I speak 7-Eleven

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I stepped into the ambulance and saw a paramedic speaking to a man on the gurney. The gurney was tilted so the man was sitting up. The paramedic told his partner that he was having trouble communicating with the patient.

I sat down on the seat next to the paramedic so I could try and ask the man about the collision. The man, who was in his 30s, was from India and had a red 7-Eleven shirt on. They spoke back and forth for a few seconds as I waited to ask my questions. The paramedic still had the same look on his face while they tried to talk.

That’s when the movie “Airplane” popped into my head. There was a scene where the stewardess was trying to speak with two men who spoke jive. She didn’t understand them and an older woman stepped in and said, “Oh stewardess. I speak Jive.” The  scene is funny after all these years.

As a cop, I’ve spent plenty of time inside  7-Eleven. It’s a perfect place to stop and take a break. That also means I’ve spent a lot of time talking with the clerks.

I looked at the paramedic and said, “I speak 7-Eleven.

I jumped in and started asking the patient what happened. Within a minute he told tell me the entire story about not feeling well, his speed, direction of travel and the crash. I looked over at the paramedic and said, “I’ve spent a lot of time inside 7-Eleven.” That made him laugh.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s another favorite quote from Airplane…….

“A hospital? What is it?”

“It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.”

You have to watch the movie if you didn’t get it.

That’s just weird

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The other night, a gang unit came on the radio saying they were trying to stop a person on a bike who was trying to get away from them. I was close by and got there a moment after the suspect was caught.

When I arrived, the helicopter directed me into the alley where the officers were. I saw a Honda stopped facing eastbound and a police car behind it. There was also a BMX bicycle on its side.

One of the gang cops pointed to the Honda and told me the suspect broke off its passenger side mirror when he hit the car. After the collision, the suspect left the bike and fled on foot. That’s when they caught him.

The bicycle rider was the hit and run suspect? That’s a new one.

The victim was standing next to his car and I went to get his information for the report. Instead of a driver’s license, I got a blank look because he didn’t have one.

This call was already weird enough with the hit and run suspect being a guy on a bike. You might as well throw in another guy with no license to make it interesting. Maybe a circus was in town and we could have clowns too.

After I was done with the driver, I wrote down the suspect’s information. A record check showed he had a valid driver’s license.

What?

So, let me get this straight. The hit and run dude on a bike had a driver’s license, but the guy driving the car didn’t????

Weird, right?

Weird is actually pretty normal for me at work. I wouldn’t expect anything else.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

It was like a movie

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Do you remember the old Twilight Zone episode when William Shatner saw a monster ripping up the wing on the airplane he was on? I was on a call recently that reminded me of that episode.

A man, who I’ll call Frank, was driving down the freeway when someone opened the passenger door and tried to grab him. Frank tried to shake the guy off the car by swerving back and forth. The person then tried to stab Frank from underneath the car. That’s when he decided to exit the freeway.

The person was still under the car at this point, so Frank drove up onto the concrete median as he tried to get him off. A witness was behind him and described sparks coming out from underneath the car as he did this.

He  then ran a red light and crashed into another car at the intersection. After the crash, the person under Frank’s car climbed out and jumped into the trunk of the victim vehicle.

Frank wasn’t DUI. He was just mentally ill. He truly believed someone was trying to get him while he was driving. As he told the story, I said, “That sounds like a movie.” Frank nodded and agreed with me.

In the end, we had to open the truck of the victim car to show Frank there was no one in there.

It was an interesting call for sure. The only thing missing was Arnold Schwarzenegger doing battle with The Predator.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

I can’t look at the sidewalk the same way

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There are times at crashes when people try to describe what happened by writing on paper or using their finger to draw imaginary lines on their hand.

Some have even reached for my pen and grabbed it as they say, “Can I show you?’

That usually ends in a tug of war for my pen because it’s plain rude to try and grab it out of my hand. What are these people thinking?

Other times they flail their arms around trying to tell me what happened. It sometimes feels like I’m dodging karate chops while they tell their story. I recently told a woman at a crash, “Can you not poke me in the eye?”

The other night a guy was trying to tell me how the collision occurred. He was in his early 50s and had a thick Vietnamese accent. I got the story the first time, but he really wanted me to understand.

The car in front of him had stopped suddenly as the light turned red. He thought the car was going to continue through, but it didn’t and they crashed. Easy story, but apparently he wanted to add to it.

That’s when he suddenly dropped to his knees in front of me and started pointing to a large gap in the sidewalk. The gap was now an imaginary crosswalk where the car had stopped in front of him.

First of all, it just looks weird when a grown man is kneeling in front of a cop on a major highway where hundreds of cars pass every minute.

While he was on his knees, I turned to the other officers and said, “This is awkward.”

I looked at the guy and said, “Can you get up and shake it out?”

I took a step back and he stood up. We were back to normal again. He seemed to snap out of it, but then dropped back to his knees as I said, “Don’t go down again.”

I shook my head and smiled at the other cops as they laughed at what the guy was doing.

Somehow this gap in the sidewalk was going to make him feel better and justify the collision. He was talking  a mile a minute when I looked over at the cops and said, “I can’t concentrate here.”

My comments were adult in nature and went right over his head. I just couldn’t resist.

After the guy left, I asked one of the cops a question about the call. They said, “Do you want me to get down on my knees and show you?”

That was the funniest thing I heard all night!

Where’s my mommy?

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The call came out as a felony hit and run involving a pedestrian with witnesses following the suspect. Dispatch updated the suspect’s location as it continued westbound on a major highway.

A few minutes later we caught up to the suspect and stopped the vehicle in a parking lot. After the interviews, we learned that the victim was transported to the hospital because her foot was run over. The suspect was arrested for felony hit and run and placed in the back of a police car. She also was driving on a suspended license.

This wasn’t the typical hit and run story though. This one had a bit of a twist to it.

What made this one a little different were the passengers in the suspect vehicle. They weren’t a bunch of hoodlums or gang members. They were the driver’s 6 and 3 year old daughters.

After mom was arrested, I walked up to the vehicle so I could get her purse and cell phone for her. There was an officer standing at the car wth the children. The 6 year old seemed to be having a good time taking with the officer.

I looked at her and asked, “Where’s mummy’s purse and cell phone?”

“Right there, ” she said as she pointed to the front seat.

“Thanks,” I replied.

I was about to walk away when she asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

I was kind of hoping to avoid that one. What do you tell a 6 year old? You can’t just say, “Mommy went to jail because she ran over a woman.”

Instead, I went with, “Mommy is talking to a police officer.”

“OK.”

“Your daddy is coming,” I said.

“My daddy is coming?”

“He’ll be here soon.”

“OK.”

I took the purse and phone to the patrol car and gave them to the officer. He then drove her to jail.

A few minutes later I walked by the vehicle and the little girl asked, “Where’s my mommy?”

“She’s talking with the officer at the police station,” I replied.

“Ok. Do you have kids?’ she asked. It was the cutest thing.

“I do. Do you want to see a picture of them?”

“Yeah,” she said with a smile.

I took my phone out and showed her a picture of my kids. The little girl looked at my daughter and said, “She’s pretty!”

You can’t beat a child’s innocence.

The crazy stuff that flies out of cars

 

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This cross was an errie sight in the middle of the street after one rollover hit and run crash. 

You never know what you’re going to find in the street after a car has rolled over a couple of times.

The other night I was walking around a parking lot after a car had rolled over after hitting the side of a building. There was broken glass, car parts and fluid everywhere.

The damage told a story of a wild ride that would’ve looked spectacular had there been a video camera handy. Even the tow truck driver told me this was probably the worst car crash he had ever seen.

As he cleaned up, I walked around the path of destruction and saw a box of condoms lying among the debris. It was the wrong protection in this situation. The driver really needed a helmet instead.

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While I was still at the scene, I thought about past collisions and all of the stuff that has come out of cars and been in the street when I got there. I wished I had taken more pictures.

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I have no idea how the ice cream and the peppers got together. Notice the plastic bag stuck in the door. You never know what you’re going to see at a crash. 

 

So far the craziest thing that has ever come out of a car was a guy’s finger. Yes, a finger. The driver was missing his finger after rolling over a couple of times. We later found it stuck to the pavement among the debris. It brings new meaning to the phrase, “He gave me the finger.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.