The other night I decided to watch a stop sign in a neighborhood because of a complaint. I parked at an L shaped intersection in plain view for all to see. I was parked along the curb in the dark when this car passed me on the left as it approached the stop sign. The car rolled through the stop and made its turn like I wasn’t there. I threw my lights on and stopped the car, wondering what the heck the driver was thinking.
I walked up to the car and asked the driver why she didn’t stop for the stop sign and if she saw the police car. At first, the driver told me she stopped. After further questioning and a Jedi Mind Trick, she admitted to not stopping. I next asked her if she had a license.
“Not with me,” she replied.
“Where is it at?”
“It broke in half two days ago.”
That was one of the dumbest excuses I had ever heard. Now I was sure her license was either suspended or she was never issued one.
“Is your license valid?”
I walked back to my car and entered her name into the computer. I knew it was a waste of time because there was no way her license was valid after the “broke in half” excuse. Call me skeptical, but it was a gut feeling.
Of course, it wasn’t valid. Her license expired in 2009 and she had two prior convictions for driving on a suspended license. Her license wasn’t just barely expired. It was really, really expired.
I couldn’t believe she tried telling me it was valid, but it was a nice try. I went back up to the driver and asked her about her license. She again told me it was valid. When do these people give up?
She next said it was set to be renewed in December of 2015. She was getting nervous at this point and started talking more and more. She then said something about failing the written test.
I asked her how many times she had failed the written test in the last year. She said, “Six times.”
“You know, they don’t make you take the test six times if you already have a valid driver’s license?”
“I have to take the test to renew it.”
That’s when she threw out one more excuse, hoping it would stick on the wall somewhere.
“I have a permit.”
“Ok. Show it to me.”
“It’s in storage,” she said.
“That doesn’t make sense. No one would put their permit in storage when they need it to drive,” I said.
Now she needed a diversion. She raised her voice and told me cops make her nervous because of all the things that happen on the news.
“Have I done anything wrong?” I asked.
Good, I wanted that for my body worn camera in case she tried to complain about me. I went back to my car and started writing her the ticket. I also called for a tow truck.
When I went back up to the driver door she was upset. She signed the ticket and asked to keep the car. I told her it was getting impounded because her license expired 6 years ago.
She exited the car and said, “I bet you’d let me keep the car if I was white.”
I almost laughed when I heard that since the driver and I were both Hispanic. I wanted so bad to say, “Nope, I’d take the car if you were white too,” but I held my tongue.
Then with a mean and sarcastic tone she said, “Thank you for protecting and serving,”
“Your welcome,” I replied.
She turned toward me with all the evilness she could muster. She even threw some imaginary darts my way with her eyes. Who cares? She lied and I was just doing my job. She could’ve stopped for the stop sign and made things easier for both of us.
After she left I told the tow truck driver what she said. He laughed as he said, “You take everybody’s car. It doesn’t matter if they’re white, black, Asian or Hispanic. If they’re wrong you take the car.”
At least the tow truck driver knew I was fair!
A few days letter there was a note in my mailbox at work from the driver. She left it after getting a release for the impound. The note said she was sorry for being rude at the end of the stop. It also said she was lagging and she finally got her license back.
She wasn’t such a bad person after all. She was just really mad because her car was impounded and that remark was the best she could come up with. At least she has her license now. I bet she stops the next time she comes up to that stop sign.
It’s not every day you get an apology from someone. I actually appreciated the note because she didn’t have to write it. Just another happy ending in police work.