Monday, May 3, 2010
Life's Lottery Winner
Besides stopping motorists for vehicle code violations, us motor types (at least in my department) handle all of the crashes, provided we are on duty. All crashes means, private property fender benders to fatalities.
I just happened to get dispatched to a report of a solo vehicle into a light pole. There were no further details as to injuries or if the vehicle and pole were blocking the roadway. As a precaution I requested through our dispatch center to have an ambulance started... just in case. Due to the lack of details, I responded with lights and siren and arrived in just a few minutes.
It had recently rained and this roadway is notorious for drivers going too fast on a slippery surface. Usually its a solo vehicle spin-out where the vehicle usually comes to rest against one of the curbs.... but not this time.
I get to the collision scene first and notice a small pickup truck had slid driver door first into a light pole. It was obvious that the light pole had won because it was still standing. The intrusion into the passenger compartment at the driver door was a good 18 inches.
It has been my experience that more times than not, this type of collision usually results in some type of injury requiring the driver to get an ambulance ride to the hospital and in some cases leaving the body in the vehicle as we investigate another fatality and call the coroner after we've wrapped up our investigation and forensic mapping of the scene (which can take hours depending on the complexity of the dynamics of the crash).
I was amazed to see the teenage driver standing, walking and talking with no injuries. I directed him to have a seat on the curb. He had a noticeable knot on the left side of his head as well as lots of broken safety glass from his door window. I let him know that I had an ambulance coming to check him out.
He asked me if the ambulance was necessary because he didn't have any health insurance. I told him due to the knot on the side of his head and the dynamics of the collision I wouldn't be canceling it.
He told me he had been visiting his sister at a coffee shop and was running late getting back to work. Of course he said he was going the posted speed limit of 30 mph when his truck "for no reason" began to slide out of control.
His mom and brother-in-law showed up at the scene. I let mom know that an ambulance was coming. She gave me the same song and dance about her son not having medical insurance, who by the way was only 17 years old. I told her she could take that issue up with the ambulance crew.
Brother-in-law happened to be an insurance adjuster and tried to talk me into canceling the ambulance. I asked him if his brother -in-law had some type of internal injury and latter fell out from it, who'd be responsible. His reply, "Me".
Yeah, right buddy. He obviously had a different take on reality and liability.
He kept trying to get the ambulance cancelled to the point that I had to tell him if he didn't get out of my face he'd be sitting in the back seat of a patrol car with a pretty set of linked "bracelets".
The teenage driver had no other apparent injuries other than the knot on his head. Mom signed the necessary form declining further treatment or transportation to the hospital thus releasing the paramedics from any liability.
The driver was unable to find a current insurance card for his pickup, but brother-in-law said he was the family insurance agent and could vouch for the pickup being insured.
Needless to say, after completing my collision report later during my shift, I completed the required paperwork and cited the driver for unsafe speed for conditions and no evidence of insurance at the scene of a traffic collision.
Cruel? I don't give young drivers any breaks. My hope is that they learn a lesson and improve their driving habits. There may be some nay sayer's thinking that by citing young drivers the only people really affected are the parents who pay the insurance premium. Thankfully in the jurisdiction where I work, the Judge who presides in our traffic court will not allow them to pay their fine and orders them to pay the fine by doing community service.
And just in case some of you inquisitive persons out there are wondering, yes my "no break" attitude includes young drivers who's parents are police officers and firefighters. I'm not going to give some young impressionable mind that they have a sense of entitlement and a "freebie" getting out of a ticket because of what their parent does for a living.