“It was hard to hear”


It always cracks me up when people come up with stupid excuses when they’ve done something wrong.

The call went out as an injury collision at an intersection involving two cars. When I arrived, there were fire fighters pointing down a side street. I looked and there was a disabled car north of the intersection. I turned there and directed other officers to the next intersection where the crash was.

The driver, who was 17 years old and unlicensed, was crying and upset. Through sobs and tears she told me she had never been issued a license and took the car with her mother’s permission to get something to eat.

When mom arrived, I asked, “Did you know she had the car?”


“She said she called you,” I said.


I pointed to the driver and looked back at mom with a more serious tone in my voice as I said, “She called you right? She said she did.”

With hesitation and stuttering, mom finally said she spoke with her daughter on the phone. I asked, “What did she say when she called?”

“It was hard to hear her. She said she was going to get something to eat.”

“So, you gave her permission to drive then?”

“It was hard to hear. I was at a funeral.”

A loud funeral??? That was the best she could come up with?

“Funerals are quiet,” I said.

“It was hard to hear what she said.”

I couldn’t resist as I said, “It’s a funeral, not a wedding.”

In the end, it turned out the 17 year old, caused the crash when she made a left turn in front of another unlicensed driver. This was like the perfect storm of unlicensed drivers crashing into each other.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

“Why didn’t you stop for the red light?”


People are funny because they tend to all say the same thing in similar situations when the police catch them doing something wrong. There are some answers that you can bet on to be the same every time.

These common answers can be fun to work with because you can see them coming a mile away. Of course, it depends on the situation, but there are times when I can be two questions ahead of someone because I’ve already been in that particular situation thousands of times before.

“I paused” is one such answer when it comes to failing to stop for a stop sign or a red light.

I recently stopped a man for making a right turn against a red light at an intersection without stopping. He did it right in front of me, so I pulled him over. After he stopped, I walked up on the driver side and asked him for his driver’s license. I then asked him about the violation while he looked through his wallet.

“Why didn’t you stop for the red light?” I asked.

“I paused.”

“You paused?”

“Yes, I paused.”

“Do you have a DVR at home?” I asked.

“Yes,” the man answered with a confused look on his face.

“When you’re watching a movie and you press the pause button what happens to the movie?”

“It stops.”

“So, why didn’t you stop for the red light then?

It was like the wheels were turning in his head as he squinted, trying to figure out what just happened. The look on his face was great because he wasn’t expecting that question. That might have been the first time he heard that question, but it was probably my one hundredth time asking it. This then set up my next question.

“So, you really didn’t stop, right?”

“No,” he said with a defeated look.