So last night I'm passing the airport in my marked cruiser. (Note: Use of the term "marked cruiser" is a hint. It typically means that I was very obvious and not being at all sneaky but someone about to be blogged about still didn't get it.)
Looking in my mirror, I see a car coming off of the ramp fro the airport onto my highway behind me. Speed limit here is 55mph, and just past that ramp is a sign saying as much. It's late, and me and this car are the only two vehicles around, so I slow down to 65mph as I watch this car rapidly gain on me. Naturally I expect that this driver will pull up close enough to recognize the marked police cruiser in front of them and quickly slow down to a bit under my speed. That's what usually happens, and that's one of the reasons why I'm out here--to keep traffic speeds reasonable just by my mere presence.
But this driver just doesn't care. ZOOM! Right past me. And then as I increase my speed to catch up, that car increases speed, apparently racing to get to the next interchange to jump onto another highway. By the time my lights go on, I'm doing 75 and that car is still moving a bit faster. That car stops, but instead of pulling to the clear, roomy and safe shoulder, it stops in the traffic lane. I have to use my PA system to tell the driver to pull onto the shoulder. Then the nonsense really starts. She pulls onto the shoulder but I see that her brake lights are still lit and I haven't seen the vehicle shift into "park" yet--the vehicle is still in gear. I again pick up the PA and tell her to take her foot off the brake. Sure enough, she starts rolling forward...and keeps rolling forward. I tell her to stop again, and she does, but still doesn't put the car in park.
I don't approach cars that are still running and in gear. I don't like cars that are either preparing to rabbit away from me or able to otherwise injure me by suddenly moving when I'm near them. And I'm naturally suspicious of drivers who won't put the car in park like 95% of the driving public automatically does when stopped.
I tell her to put the car in park, and she finally does. I then tell her to turn the car off, but she refuses. I can see the exhaust so I know it's still running. Again, we have noncompliance to a simple instruction, and one that directly concerns my safety. Screw it. I ask for another unit for back-up and one actually materializes fairly quickly. The airport guys were monitoring our channel and one ambled up within a minute. Now with two of us, we approach the car. The driver is a black female still dressed in the costume of an American Airlines stewardess. And she starts right in:
"You need to stop yelling at me," she says before I even introduce myself. "I'm not your dog and I'm not your kid."
OK, so it's going to be like that, is it? This was going to be a quick sobriety check, probably ending with a verbal warning if she was sober, but she's taking it in another direction pretty quickly. I put my hand up to cut her off.
"First of all, when the lights come on, you need to pull onto the shoulder and put your car in park. Then when I give you instructions that I know you can hear, you need to obey them. And that means turning your car off when I tell you to. Is there a reason why you didn't want to do any of those things?"
"Yeah," she snaps. "I'm just off work, I want to get home, and it's cold out. I don't need this."
"Ok, The reason you were stopped in the first placed is because of your speed back there. The speed limit here is 55 and you were in excess of 75 before I stopped you. Are you aware of that?"
"I was doing 65," she said, dismissively turning to look out the front windshield instead of at me.
"And as I just explained, the speed limit is 55. You passed a sign saying so when you came out of the airport. License and registration, please." I'm not going to sit here and argue with her. She can just have a citation and take it to the judge if she wants.
She digs the information out of her purse and then tries to hand it to the airport officer who is on the other side of her car. He tells her to give it to me.
"But I want to deal with you," she says to him. You're from the airport and I work for American Airlines." The airport officer tells her again to give it to me because this is my traffic stop. She hands it to me and repeats: "I work for American Airlines and I want him to handle this."
"Well you're on my highway now so you'll deal with me. Have you had anything to drink tonight?"
"I just told you--I work for American Airlines. Can't you see this?" She touches her uniform. "They drug test us, so no, I don't drink when I'm at work."
Whatever. I go back to my cruiser and scratch her out a speeding ticket. The airport guy waits with me. I ask him if all of the stewardesses are like that. He laughs and rolls his eyes. "Oh no. Most are worse. They think that they're the boss everywhere just because they're in charge of passengers on a plane or two. We get this crap from them all the time."
"Friendly skies, huh?" I ask. We laugh.
I walk back and hand her her $165.00 ticket. She's steaming. "Your supervisor will be hearing from my husband shortly," she announces.
"Fine," I tell her. "Have your boss call my boss." I turn to walk away as the airport guy bursts out laughing, not even trying to be discrete.
I may get a complaint just for that last line, but you know what? It'll be worth it.
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