Saturday, May 02, 2009

Bad Guys Need Seatbelts Too

Eons ago when I was a cop, my wife used to make me drive everywhere. Why? Because oddly enough, the only place I could find to keep my driver’s license was in my badge wallet right next to the shiny gold star that read “Deputy Sheriff.” If I got pulled over, (which I did often), I’d reach for my license, get a warning to be safe, and then I’d get to pull away. It’s like the police version of a catch-and release program. Not fair to the rest of the motoring public, I admit, but I wasn’t about to VOLUNTEER to get cited.

What my wife got in exchange for never having to drive is putting up with the manner in which I did. Often she’d squeal, brace herself, or grimace at the way I’d follow rather closely or “shoot the gap” between two cars as I passed someone on the interstate. “Relax,” I’d say. “I’m a trained pursuit driver.” Even after the closest of calls (which I had often), she never once puked, so I count myself as successful.

Once in a chase, the bad guys doubled back on me and took a side road. I was zooming to where I thought they were when they blew a stop sign on the side road and pulled out in front of me. I slammed on brakes and somehow managed to squeeze between them and the other police car chasing them. I left 96 feet of skid marks and wound up in the woods between two pine trees without a scratch on my car or me. The fabric on the driver’s seat, however, looked like a little mountain, pulled up by the pucker of my butt cheeks as I saw the trees coming at me fast!

But this is about driver safety, so here’s my advice: always buckle up. In another chase I was in, we tried what’s called a rolling roadblock. That’s where we would surround the bad guy on all four sides, blocking him in, and then we’d gradually all slow down, forcing him to stop. Problem was, we had all just received new patrol cars and nobody wanted to be the first to get a scratch or dent. The guy would fake a swerve like he was going to hit one of us, and the whole group of police cars would spread out.

We did this for 12 miles on an interstate until finally the guy tried to cross the grass median. Too bad for him, he hit a six-foot square concrete drainage grate cover. He went airborne, the car flipping in midair. It looked like a ballet, except somewhere about the third flip, the dude came flying out of the driver’s side. You got it. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. He landed face first on the interstate.

I thought the guy was dead, but when the EMTs arrived, he tried to fight them! So we sprayed him real good with pepper spray. I hear it goes well with road rash. He went to the hospital, then to jail, and we all lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story is: if you get married don’t tell your spouse you’re a cop or you’ll wind up driving everywhere. Oh, and wear your seatbelt, especially if you plan to rob a store and then run from the police. Happy motoring, everyone.


Iris Black said...

Seatbelts are definitely important! A girl at my school was paralyzed last year from the waist down bcz she had been riding in the back seat w/out a belt. No matter where you are in the car, they are VERY important.


Martin Bartloff said...

December 12th 2007, a day before her Birthday, a close friend of my son's left high school in her Jeep Cherokee. In the car with her, her younger sister and both her best friends. Trying to beat the yellow traffic light she sped up-turn signal left. As her jeep made that sharp turn it started lifting its left wheels. She desperately tried to bring the jeep back under control. Everyone wore their seat belts except for her. The Jeep flipped three times with her torso out the drivers window and her legs caught in the car. None of the 3 other passengers were hurt. My son's friend died on the way to the Hospital, a day before her 18th Birthday and a week before Christmas.


Jacquelyn Sylvan said...

What irritates me is that if that had been someone he hit, the person would have died instantly. But no, bad guy goes flipping through the air, is ejected from the vehicle, and lives with a little roadrash. Grr.

Ophelia Julien said...

You're right that bad guys need seatbelts, too, Sam, but the mental image of a bunch of bank robbers taking the time to buckle up before peeling out cracks me up!