How about some self preservation?

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On Thursday night, a guy was walking in an industrial area while wearing a black shirt and big headphones on his head. That was fine except he was walking in the street with his back to traffic rather than on the dirt area, which was separated by a curb. Of course, a truck’s mirror hit the guy as it drove by.

When I arrived, the pedestrian was upset and pacing around as he kept saying, “He fucking hit me!!!”

After hearing him complain over and over about the driver I wanted to say, “Duh. How about some self preservation?”

Even after all these years,  I’m still surprised how people put themselves into bad situations and then get upset at the other guy. It’s like the baseball player who drops the easy fly ball and then blames the glove.

One word popped in my head while I was handling this call……

Darwinism.

On Friday, I told my daughter this story while I taking her to practice. At one point she said, “I’m not even going to let you finish this story because it’s stupid. He had it coming.”

Boom! That was the funniest thing I heard all day.

 

He told her what?

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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.”

 

A crazy 902T

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A few months ago the word “whale” came up during a call and it became a challenge to see if I could work it into the conversation with a suspect. Mission accomplished that night with a good laugh and an inside joke between me and another cop.

Another time the word “ball” came up on a call in a weird way by the driver of a crashed car. That night I was able to say ball in almost every other sentence while trying to keep a straight face. It’s a long story, but a good one for another time. It’s also another inside joke between me and the same cop.

On Thursday night, I was dispatched to a four-car injury traffic collision. A civilian report writer arrived on scene first and cancelled the fire department.

She next advised over the radio that the crash was a 902T (non-injury) instead of a 901T(injury). She added a little humor by saying, “It’s a crazy 902T.”

I never heard the phrase “crazy 902T” before, so I decided to have a little fun with it. I picked up the mic and said, “Confirming it’s a crazy 902T?”

“Affirm,” replied the dispatcher.

My computer beeped as a I got a message from MM, the cop with the inside “whale” and “ball” jokes. Her message gave me an idea.

I replied back, “Let’s see how many times I can say crazy 902T on the radio.”

I also typed to the dispatcher and said I was going to try and say “crazy 902T” on the radio when I went on scene.

When I arrived, I saw one car with front end damage disabled in the street. The other car struck two parked cars after the initial impact and was also disabled in the road.

“729, all eastbound lanes are closed and we’re going to have a sig-alert for the next hour for a crazy 902T.”

“10-4,” replied the dispatcher.

“729, I’ll need two 926s (tow trucks) for a crazy 902T.”

“10-4.”

Two times. Maybe I could say it one more time.

I started talking with one of the drivers and decided the paramedics needed to respond. I keyed the mic and asked for the fire department. I next wanted to change the status of the call from non-injury to injury. What better way to do that by saying “crazy 902T” again.

“729, this is no longer a crazy 902T. It’s a 901T light.”

Mission accomplished

How old are you?

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On Wednesday, I contacted a woman, who was about 20 years old, at a three-car traffic collision. After I was done with the interview, I turned to one of the passengers and asked for her name. The first passenger only spoke Spanish, so the driver assisted translation.

After I got the information and injuries of the first passenger, I turned toward the second, who didn’t speak English either.

The driver said, “This is my mom.”

“What’s her name?” I asked.

The driver replied by giving me her first and last name.

“What’s her birthday?”

The driver turned toward her mother and asked what her birthday was in Spanish. I was shocked, so I said, “You don’t know your mom’s birthday?”

The driver smiled with an embarrassed look as she continued to ask her mother in Spanish.

“How long has she been your mom?” I poked.

“Huh?” She said with a confused look.

“How long has she been your mom?” I asked again.

This time she got my sarcasm and laughed.

“Do you have any kids?”

“No.”

“If you did, I figured you’d forget their birthdays too,” I said with a laugh.

The driver gave me a “You got me” look and laughed again.

I gave her a card with the report number and said, “Thanks for laughing at my jokes.” At least she was a good sport about it.

“It’s complicated”

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Last week I responded to a disturbance call involving a man and woman. When I pulled up, I saw that the female had rear ended the male at a stop sign.

The damage was minor and I wondered what the big deal was. I walked up to the female as other cops spoke to the male. I learned that they were married a few months ago and they had an argument today at her house.

Not at their house or their apartment. At her house. That part was too complicated try to figure it out.

After the argument he drove to the park to be alone and she followed him there. From there, he left again.

“Why was he mad?” I asked.

“I posted something.”

“What did you post?”

“I posted a pic of a guy saying it was my new boyfriend to get him to leave me alone.”

“Let me get this straight. You posted a picture of a fake boyfriend so your husband would leave you alone?”

“Yes.”

OMG! Who are these people and how did they get on this planet? Was I in the Twlight Zone again?

After he left the park she wanted to find him, so she went to where he normally parks his car. Didn’t she want him to leave her alone?

A few minutes later she found him and started following his car. He stopped for a stop sign and she rear ended him. To top it off, she told me he was drinking. Could this call get any stranger?  Yes, she didn’t even have a driver’s license.

In the end, he was arrested for DUI and both cars were towed.

After he was arrested she asked me, “Can I talk to him?”

Was she kidding?  It was almost like she was a black cloud following him. Maybe he was relieved to be going to  jail.

I’m wonder if her Facebook status says, “It’s complicated.”

Was it a squirrel?

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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……

You get an F

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About a week ago I was stuck in late afternoon traffic that was heavier than normal. While I was stopped, dispatch put out an injury traffic collision involving four cars at the freeway off ramp just ahead of me.

I looked across the sea of cars and saw the crash north of the city limit and I requested the neighboring city respond for the report.

I turned on my overhead lights as I tried to move over to the left. Once in the left lane, I squeezed between the median and traffic as I moved at a snail’s pace. Getting through traffic was no different than trying to put on a pair of jeans that I wore in high school. It just wasn’t happening.

When I finally got up to the crash I saw car with a shattered rear window and its trunk in the backseat. The driver had a dazed look as he stood next to the paperweight that used to be his car.

A full-sized truck had rear ended him, which caused a chain reaction with two other vehicles. The driver of the truck told me he was on the gas while changing lanes and never saw the car in front of him.

I started the paper work and waited for the other officer to respond. Once the other cop arrived, I told the offending driver I was leaving.

He gave me a lost look and asked, “Do I get a report card?”

I knew he meant report number, but I couldn’t resist as I replied, “Yeah, you get an F.”

The F comment hung there like a silent but deadly fart traveling through the air searching out an unsuspecting victim. His facial expression then changed knowing he was just Badge415ized.

He smiled and said, “That’s fucked up.”

“You opened the door on that one,” I replied as I smiled.

The call no one wants

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The call involved a child who was run over by a car in the driveway of her house. From the information at the scene this wasn’t going to end well.

I arrived at the hospital and parked my car knowing I didn’t want to go in. With each step toward the ER, I could feel something telling me to go in the other direction.

My sergeant was standing in the ER with a solemn look on his face. The toddler was lying lifeless in the bed with hospital staff doing what they could to save her.

Her father was wearing a blood stained shirt and a look of anguish on his face. I didn’t want to watch. I didn’t want to be there.

I could feel my heart beat faster as I looked at the child lying there. She was so small that it shocked me.

That’s when the doctor called it. I knew it was over because the father yelled out, “No!!!!!” He turned toward the wall and started hitting it as he yelled out.

You could almost feel the screams go through your body and grip your heart with  pain, suffering and grief.

How had this happened?

It was my call. The type of call no one ever wants to respond to.  Unfortunately this wasn’t the first child I’d seen run over by a family member.

I had to leave. I needed to get out of there.

I told my sergeant I was going to the collision scene to speak with the driver as the father held the lifeless body. He just screamed as he rocked back and forth with the body.  It’s an image that will stay with me forever.

I walked toward the exit as his screams shook the walls like an 8.0 earthquake.

We need to stop meeting by accident

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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

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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.