Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Hansel and Gretel
I'm sure almost everyone is familiar with this fairy tale and how they used a trail of breadcrumbs to mark their way with the intention of using the same said trail to find their way back.
This story came to mind during a cold hit and run traffic collision one cool clear morning. My partner, Jolly was dispatched to this traffic collision just after I had been dispatched to a totally separate traffic collision. Turns out my two driver's had decided to exchange their information with each other and actually were kind enough to contact our dispatch center to cancel my response.
I decided to head over to Jolly's hit and run. The victim vehicle had been legally parked on the street in front of their home. The left front end and driver side had been smashed by another vehicle which drove onto the opposing lane of traffic.
I pointed out to Jolly through the scuff marks left from the suspect vehicle's tires that it had veered sharply to the right, gone up over the raised concrete curb, across the front lawn of a home and came to a stop within about 12 inches of going into the living room.
While Jolly spoke with the owner of the smashed car, I noticed a distinctive tire mark left from the suspect vehicle. I looked down the roadway and could distinctly see the direction the suspect driver had fled. I told Jolly that I was going to follow the tire marks and see if they led anywhere.
The tire mark was actually two marks, a wide one of about 3 to 4 inches with a skinnier one about 6 inches away and it was about an inch wide. After about a half mile the tire marks pretty much became to light to see. They were last pointed in the direction of one of our major north - south roadways.
I noticed how the tire mark was still visible across the white painted crosswalk lines and were as distinctive as the one on the roadway surface before becoming too light to see.
I was able to see and follow this distinctive tire mark across every white painted crosswalk line as it lead me south along a frontage road. After about 3 miles of following this tire mark it led me to a shopping center. The tire mark became very visible on the black asphalt parking lot. I followed it to where the tire mark appeared to have stopped and parked 90 degrees to the marked parking stalls.
This was the spot where whomever had ripped off the plastic front bumper to their car and left it. I continued to follow this tire mark which pretty much did a 180 and saw it was parked (properly) in a marked parking stall and behind a hedge high enough to shield it from view.
So a quick records check of the license plate showed the owner lived in the adjacent county and city to the south. Jolly met me at the location of the suspect car where we rode down to the owners home and contacted them, bleary eyed and still intoxicated.
Needless to say, she was the registered owner of the car. She was able to produce the car keys and admitted to drinking, driving and "believed" she may have bumped into a parked car. She failed miserably doing a set of field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested for DUI pursuant to Calif. Vehicle Code section 40300.5.
Not quoting the entire section, the driver met the requirements of this section and through the totality of the circumstances and certain articulate able facts she was lawfully arrested for DUI 6 to 7 hours after "bumping" into the parked car. Her BAC (blood alcohol level) was STILL well over the .08%.