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.

What was he thinking?

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The other night I was trying to get off early when I was sent to a non-injury crash an hour before I was supposed to get off. The call information was that the drivers were arguing and one of them was refusing to exchange information.

When I arrived, I contacted a male, who told me his vehicle was parked in the alley when it was hit by another car. Simple enough, right?

Of course, that plan fell apart because any time you want to get off early something always happens.

I contacted one of the driver’s and could tell he had been drinking. He was also unlicensed. I got his statement and another officer conducted the DUI investigation. In the end, the driver was arrested for DUI and taken to jail.

Here’s the best part of the story. It turned out the DUI guy was the one who didn’t want to exchange information with the victim driver. That was the only reason why the police were called.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Can I call you Frank?

 

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

One of the funniest things to do at work is to say random things while on calls just for the heck of it. Most of the time it’s just something that pops into my head and I go with it.

A few years ago, I responded to a hit and run collision where a parked vehicle was struck by a car that rolled over. The call information indicated the suspect ran away, but was caught one street north of the collision scene. When I got there, I saw the driver siting on the curb with other officers, who were standing by.

The driver was about 30 years old and was barefoot. I was impressed he was able to run that far with no shoes after climbing out of an overturned car. He was obviously really motivated to get away. His feet were black and filthy from his sprint to freedom. It was going to take a month to get those little piggies clean.

I walked up to him and said, “Hi. You look like the guy who sits on the wall from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.”

He looked down at his feet and started laughing because he knew which guy I was talking about. At least he had been to Disneyland land to understand my joke. That’s when I knew I could do the name game with him.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Bill,” he replied.

With a straight face I asked, “Do you mind if I call you Frank?”

The man, who was DUI, paused for a moment and then smiled as he raised his arms in the air and said, “You can call me anything you want.”

“OK Frank. Tell me what happened.”

Frank went on to tell me how the crash happened and was eventually arrested for DUI. He took everything in stride and was as nice as could be about the entire thing.

You just never know what kind of reaction you’re going to get when you ask to call someone by their wrong name. The answer is sometimes priceless.

Too much information (T.M.I.)

_DSC4559-2I love the things that come out of people’s mouths at traffic collisions. It’s like they stepped into a world where the rules of privacy and too much information don’t exist.

On Friday night, I was at an injury collision at 2AM, involving a woman who had been drinking. During the interview, I asked her where she was coming from. The driver replied, “From my AA meeting.”

That in itself was funny. How could it get any better than that? Well, she didn’t disappoint. A few minutes later, the firefighter asked the woman if she was sick or injured. In a very loud voice she said, “I have a yeast infection.”

I almost burst out laughing at that, but I held it in. Her husband was standing next to us when she said that and stepped forward as he looked at her. The husband loudly said, “T.M.I! T.M.I!

Now I really had to hold it in as I asked the husband to walk away so I could get some information from him. While we spoke, I did everything I could to not smile. I even had to turn away from him. At one point I gave up and told him, “That was funny.”

It’s not every day a DUI driver with a yeast infection crashes while coming from an alcoholic anonymous meeting.  It was like a perfect storm of twisted humor and mishaps.

You never know what’s going to happen next in this wacky world called police work.

Happy New Year

_DSC7459The clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve night and it didn’t take long before we had our first DUI collision of 2016. Luckily the first victim was only a tree and not some unlucky person, who was minding their own business on their way home.

After the DUI investigation was completed, the driver was handcuffed and told he was under arrest. I was standing there when he said, “But I’m not drunk.”

I pointed to the tree the guy crashed into and joked to another officer, “Doesn’t he realize he failed the driving test?”

The driver was given the option of a blood or breath test. After he decided on the blood test I started to walk away. That’s when he said, “I’m not drunk” again. 

His car was stuck on the median and up against a tree with a flat tire and a damaged rim. Its front bumper and grille were also damaged. After looking at the car and hearing him over and over,  I wondered if he realized how silly he sounded at this moment.

You just can’t go around hitting things. Especially after drinking 4 or 5 beers on New Year’s Eve night. Maybe it’s time he drank from the cup of responsibility instead. It wasn’t like tree jumped out in front of him.

Have a safe 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

The funny things people say

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People sometimes say the funniest things at traffic collisions. That was the case one night years ago when I was sent to an injury collision where a Chevy Tahoe rolled down an embankment.

When I pulled up, there was a woman already in the ambulance with a broken nose. There were a couple of passengers with minor injuries standing with officers, who were writing their information down. The driver, a male in his 20s, was with another officer. Someone came up to me and said, “He’s HBD,” meaning he had been drinking.

I walked down the sidewalk and looked over the edge to where the vehicle was. The Tahoe had rolled down the hill a couple of times and came to rest on its roof in the playground area of a daycare center. There was a crushed jungle gym underneath it that now resembled a pancake. At least the daycare closed at the time.

I walked up to the driver and asked, “What happened?”

He said, “I was turning and lost control. I hit the curb and we rolled over.”

I could tell he had been drinking and asked, “How many beers did you have tonight?”

“Just two.”

“Two? I said with a raised eyebrow. “Come on man. I can smell it on you from over here?”

The driver pointed to his passengers and said, “It’s because their beer spilled on me when we crashed.”

It’s one of the best DUI remarks ever.

There’s no crying in traffic

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“There’s no crying in baseball.”

That was a famous line said by Tom Hanks in the movie “A League of Their Own.” Just thinking of that part in the movie makes me laugh.

The other night I drove up on a crash in which a car had struck a really big tree on the wrong side of the road. It was the type of tree that took the impact and still said, “Is that all you got?”

The driver was sitting on the curb and crying as he spoke to officers. He was very respectful and honest. He had been drinking and accepted responsibility for his mistake. I remembered thinking, “Why can’t everyone be like this guy?”

I took his statement and then went to look at the crashed car. He was still sobbing as I walked away. I spoke to some witnesses and then walked back to my car as the tow truck arrived. The tow driver attached his cable to the crashed car and dragged it up the flatbed.

As the car was pulled away from the tree, a loud sound could be heard as metal dragged across the pavement like nails on a chalkboard. The driver heard this and fell back on his elbow and laid in wet grass. The noise of his car being dragged seemed to be make him cry louder. It was as if we he was watching his first love leaving forever as she boarded a plane.

I had a feeling he learned his lesson tonight, but it left me wanting to say one thing…..

“There’s no crying in traffic.”

The curb with countless stories

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The curb that keeps taking it like a champ

If you work as a traffic cop long enough you’ll return to certain locations over and over for collisions. It’s just the way it is. Usually these spots are heavily traveled intersections where the volume of traffic means it’s only a matter of time before another collision occurs.

This is true most of the time, but there’s one L shaped intersection where I work that has much less traffic, but has seen plenty of single vehicle crashes. If only the curb could talk.

This was what I thought about while standing there the other night at another single vehicle traffic collision. The only thing different that night was the name of the driver and what part of the curb he hit first before colliding into a tree, a building, a pole or a sign.

Sometimes the drivers say they were going too fast. Other times they say a phantom car cut them off. Either way, they crashed into the same curb.

I looked at the curb and saw all of its battle scars from vehicles that were traveling way too fast over the years. Each chipped portion of curb told a story of a vehicle that tried to go up against it, but lost like the others before it. All suffered the same fate and were towed away after their wheels were reduced to twisted metal and flat tires.

This particular curb has withstood the test of time and everything that man has tried to do to it with a car. Maybe one day people will figure it out and slow down. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before I go back and have another story to tell about this spot.

By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever had a woman crash at this location. Good job ladies. Too bad the guys can’t figure this out.

“You look familiar”

_DSC7442The other night I was on a three-car collision when I looked at one of the drivers and said, “You look familiar.”

He turned to me with DUI looking eyes and didn’t say anything.

“Have you crashed before?” I asked.

He nodded his head as he said, “Yes.”

“Do you remember me?”

He shook his head no.

There was a tremor in the force because my Jedi senses told me I had run into this guy before. Well, he actually ran into someone else to be more accurate. I spent the rest of the call trying to figure out how I knew him.

A little while later, the arresting officer told me our driver was in a 2014 DUI collision that I was on. I knew it. Later on I did some research and read the old report. Bingo. I knew exactly who that was.

Back in May of 2014, I was stopped for a red light when my partner and I heard a crash. I looked across the intersection and saw two cars that were involved in a rear end collision. I drove across the street and pulled in behind the cars. The striking vehicle had front end damage and smoke was coming out from under the hood.

That’s when the door popped open and the driver fell out of the car. It was as if all of his weight was against the door and he rolled out onto the street. Once on the street, he flopped around like a sea lion at Sea World begging for a treat after doing a trick. The only thing missing was a crowd, a bucket of fish and a large pool of water.

After a few moments of animal entertainment he rolled over and started doing a low crawl like a sniper was shooting at him from a clock tower. It surely would’ve won the grand prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos. In the end, he was arrested for DUI and went to jail.

It was funny to watch because it’s not every day you get to see a grown man fall out of his car because he’s so drunk. It’s also not every day you get to run into him again at another collision.

Here’s the sad thing. This is the second time this year where I’ve contacted a previous DUI customer of mine at a crash where they were DUI again.

When are these people ever going to learn?

The night Uber needed a taxi

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Last week I pulled up to a collision call and saw three disabled vehicles in the road and one parked at the gas station on the corner. It seemed like there were a ton of people standing around being treated by fire personnel or speaking with officers. It was as if the cars threw up people all over the place.

Everyone was calm except for one loud mouth drunk who just liked to hear himself talk. He pretty much yelled the entire call and was downright obnoxious. His dumbness wasn’t directed at us, but he certainly was the fart in the elevator.

After a few minutes I figured out who was who in the zoo and started interviewing the drivers. One driver was stopped for a red light when his truck was turned into an accordion with four wheels. He was the first to get rear ended and was pushed into the car in front of him. The truck’s rear end was smashed and its front wheel broke off like it was a small Lego piece. One look at that poor truck and you knew it was going straight to car heaven.

I next spoke to an Uber driver, who told me the soon to be accordion was stopped behind him when they were rear ended. The impact turned his poor Uber mobile into a metal paper weight. The damage on that vehicle was bad. It was also getting a trip to car heaven.

I went on to interview the fourth driver and asked him what happened. In a weird twist, he was also an Uber driver with a carload of passengers.

The two Uber drivers were unrelated and just happened to be Ubering in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least they didn’t crash into each other. That would’ve been too weird.

I learned that both sets of Uber passengers had been drinking and did the responsible thing by getting a ride. Unfortunately, there was an unlicensed DUI driver behind them who wasn’t responsible. What are the odds of drunk people getting rear ended by a DUI driver?

And in the final twist of irony, we had to call a taxi to pick up some of the Uber passengers because they needed a ride.

You can’t make this stuff up.