When you ask a law enforcement officer to tell you an interesting story, you never know quite what you’re going to get.
Herewith, two such stories -- both involving motor vehicles -- related to me by two officers who, for their own reasons, preferred I not use their names or locations where these events happened.
I’ve dealt with both officers for years. Their reasons for wanting to stay out of the newspaper are valid, and their honesty is unquestioned.
The blue strobe light is sharp enough to hurt your eyes if your gaze lingers too long. The wail of the siren seems to come out of nowhere. The car eases to a stop along the bumpy road shoulder.
The officer exits his cruiser, walks up to the vehicle he’s stopped.
He asks the driver: "Do you have any idea how fast you were going? Is there some reason you happened to be 20 miles over the speed limit?"
The driver answers: "I couldn't have been going that fast. I just pulled away from a stop sign."
The officer responds: "Sir, the stop sign you pulled away from is four miles up the road."
"You name it and we've heard it," one of the officers told me. Added the second officer: "Usually people have excuses that are probably truthful, but they're not valid."
The first officer continued with the story of the speeding driver he’d stopped.
"He told me he was a preacher. He must have been a plainclothes preacher because he was wearing ordinary clothes. I told him I'd have to write him a citation, even though I didn't want to.
“He refused to sign it. I told him if he didn't sign, he'd either have to post bond or go to jail. He told me to take him to jail because he wasn't posting bond.
“When he said that, I asked him to put his hands on the car so I could search him. I took the biggest pocketknife you've ever seen off him, and I took him to jail. He later posted bond.
“He came to court decked out in his best preacher clothes, pled guilty and paid a fine. He told the judge I was one of the nicest officers who ever stopped him."
The second officer’s story didn’t have such a happy ending.
That officer recalled: "I got behind this northbound driver. He was weaving and showing signs of being a drunk driver so I put on the blue lights. He didn't slow down. I hit the siren a couple of times.
“He still didn't slow down. I shined my spot on the back of the car and he put his hand over the rearview mirror. I pulled alongside him and shined the spot in the car, and he put his hand up to cover his eyes.
“Here's the thing -- all this time he was only doing about 35 miles an hour, no faster, but I couldn't get him to stop. It was sort of embarrassing to me, but I had to call the Highway Patrol and ask them to set up a roadblock because I couldn't get this guy doing 35 miles an hour to stop.
“They set up a roadblock at an intersection, but he turned off a block before the roadblock. We finally got him stopped at another intersection.
" I walked up to the car. I said, 'Sir, I put on my blue light, used my siren, even shined my spotlight into your car. Why didn't you stop?' He said his girlfriend knew me and that it was okay to keep going. I looked over at the girl and it was the first time I've ever seen her in my life.
"I found out later they got home, got into an argument, and the man left the house in a pickup truck. He got involved in a drag race with another vehicle, ran off the road and crashed. It killed him.
“He left behind his girlfriend expecting their firstborn child.
“Him being a daddy-to-be, getting stopped and arrested, wasn’t none of it enough to get his attention, cause him to straighten up, grow up, and maybe save his life.
“It’s a case that’s beyond sad. It’s one I’ll remember for the rest of my life…”