Friday, May 22, 2009

The truth shall set you free

I was dispatched to a solo vehicle traffic collision which occurred on one of our residential streets. What had happened was one of our Police Explorers was driving home after buying an X-Box 360 game and was in a little hurry.

Let me describe the scene to you. He was traveling westbound on a major boulevard which had two lanes and made a right turn onto the street he lived on, a regular residential roadway with no lane divider. He had actually moved over into the opposing lane of traffic and side swiped this parked car.

I arrived at the location and spoke to the driver. He told me he was driving at about 20 mph when he made his right turn. Now he further said he made his right turn from the right lane of the boulevard. I asked him if he had any passengers with him. He said he was the only person in the car.

I looked at the damage to both vehicles and the physical evidence on the roadway. I noticed a very clear, defined critical speed scuff. A critical speed scuff is a tire mark left on the roadway when the tire loses traction in a turn. I noticed this critical speed scuff began in the left turn lane on the boulevard. He tried to apex his turn by driving across both lanes of the boulevard and turning close to the corner nearest him onto his street.

This critical speed scuff continued onto the residential roadway into the opposing side of the roadway up to where the parked car was hit. I asked him again how fast he was driving. He stuck with his original answer of 20 mph from the right lane of the boulevard.

I told Junior that the gray in the sides of my hair and mustache were indicators that I've been doing this job for a while. I also threw in the comment, "I was born at night, but not last night." I realize young people make stupid decisions. I was young once so I understood why he wasn't being honest. Hell I still do stupid things. This was me giving Junior a chance to come clean.

I pointed out my motor boots to Junior and asked him if he knew why we wear them. He of course said they were for safety. I told him, "No, its to prevent the bullshit as it gets deeper from getting my pants dirty." So I told Junior to think about what really happened and I'd come back and talk to him after I took my photographs of the traffic collision.

While I was taking the photographs, my dispatcher told me that I had a neighbor who had further information about the collision. I contacted this neighbor with my cell phone. This neighbor ranted and raved about the speeding problem on this street as well as the person who was involved was one of the "regulars" who frequently speed down this residential street.

She asked me if the driver was all right. Then she inquired about the passenger she saw get out of the car. I told her that to the best of my knowledge there was no passenger. She was positive that she saw a friend of his get out of the passenger side door.

I walked back up to Junior and had him tell me again what had happened. The only part of this dumb ass's story which changed was he might have been going 25 mph. I asked him again if anyone else was in the car with him. Once again he told me he was the only person in the car.

Listen if a cop asks you a question more than once, realize he or she more than likely already knows the answer. So I asked Junior why a neighbor would request a call from me only to tell me that she saw a passenger get out of the passenger side. Well his stumbling words told me the truth. I told him to call his friend and have him get his butt back up to the collision scene.

I had an ambulance respond due to the complaint of pain Junior had, and figured the passenger should be checked out also, not knowing if he was injured.

I then began to show Junior the critical speed scuff, where it originated from and how it didn't match the speed he had given me. I was able to determine his minimum speed based on the critical speed scuff and it sure as hell wasn't 20 to 25 mph.

The reason his passenger had run was Junior had his driver license for 4 months. He was a provisional driver who wasn't allowed to drive any passengers in his car under the age of 25.

Of course I cited him for an improper position for a right turn, unsafe speed for conditions, violation of his driver license provisional restrictions, and failure to provide proof of insurance at the scene of a traffic collision.

I later spoke to the Officer who is in charge of our police explorers and told him about the traffic collision and Junior's less than honest statement of how the collision happened. Unfortunately for Junior, he is no longer a police explorer with our agency.

This is one of those instances where I don't think I'll be going to court on the ticket Junior received.


  1. I like reading your stories because my brother is a traffic cop (deputy constable, SWAT officer), former state trooper, former Marine. His stories are very similar. Now I'm in massage therapy class with a former gang buster cop. NOW HE'S a cop w/stress and anger issues! I like police officers. Used to hate 'em because of Cops but decided to like real cops once my brother put his life on the line on the DNT "to go out and harry-ass the motoring public" as he puts it. I just tell my brother, although he is nice about it.. don't talk s-h-i-t to everybody.. You know, everybody can't take it. Some of the motoring public are really fools. You know? BE SAFE! Thank you for your service.. and your blog. And I know it's a sacrifice, too.

  2. And people wonder why only 2 out of a 100 make it through the app process...

  3. excessive speed, unsafe turn, TC, underage passenger..... all forgivable. Lying over and over to 2WT, or any officer....... unforgivable. That one doesn't have what it takes to be a peace officer. Fortunate that he got weeded out early.