So tonight, a bit before midnight, I’m approaching an intersection with a divided four-lane road ahead of me. I see a car on that road cross the intersection at what my training and experience tells me is about double the 35mph speed limit on that road. “Someone’s about to get it,” I tell myself as I turn onto that road behind the speeding car. I accelerate to catch up. The area is devoid of streetlights and pretty dark. I'm also driving a slick-top so I'm pretty sure that the guy didn't spot me as he'd gone past.
The car is still moving fast, but I’m moving much faster and should be close enough to hit my lights in another few seconds. There’s only one other car between me and my prey, and that’s a red Ford in the left lane who is actually driving fairly close to the actual speed limit. I’m about to pass this Ford on the right and my hand is on the light switch because I’m going to light that speeder up just as soon as I’m directly behind him when all of a sudden…
What the @#$%! That Ford just shifted into my lane and hit it’s brakes, forcing me to punch MY brakes hard enough to engage the anti-lock system. My clipboard hits the floor and my coffee in the center console cup holder sloshes out of the cup.
I brake hard to get some distance between me and the obvious airhead in the Ford, and then I jump to the left lane because I’m not about to let one inattentive asshole keep me from that speeder. But just as I get back on the gas, the red Ford jumps back into the left lane and brakes again.
That did it. Screw that speeder. I want THIS guy now. My lights and siren go on and the red Ford and I both pull to the right side. In the heat of my desire to catch my original target, I was willing to scratch the first cut-off as the action of a not-paying-attention bozo. But the second time…that was clearly on purpose and both times he nearly wrecked us. I calmly put my stop out on the radio and walked up on the driver who, like his passenger, was an early-twenties white kid wearing a sports jersey, a few too many neck chains and his hat on backwards.
“Good evening. My name is Sergeant Krupke, Xxxxx Police Department,” I began calmly. “”Let me see your license and registration.” As soon as he handed them to me, I glanced at them briefly then tucked them into my belt while telling him to get out of the car. Once he was out and I’d walked him back up onto the sidewalk, I got to the meat of the matter, channeling my inner R. Lee Ermey.
“Just what exactly do you call that totally asinine display of driving?!" I shout at him. "You damn near wrecked us both not once but twice. What the hell is wrong with you?!” Actually I'm not really all that angry at this point, but sometimes it helps to employ a bit of theatrics to get your point across. And it works with this kid.
“I-I-I-I didn’t mean to, Sir…” he began, stammering.
“BULLSHIT!” I shouted. “That was 100% on purpose and don’t you even consider telling me anything different. I’ll tell you exactly what that was! You saw me coming up on you and decided that you didn’t want to be passed, didn’t you?” I was right in his face now, nose-to-nose, acting just like an old drill sergeant that I personally recall from my own younger days.
“I-I-I- didn’t know you were a police car, Sir…” he offered.
“Oh, so that makes it ok? Hell, I’ll bet that you two thought that it was pretty damned funny for a few seconds there, didn’t you?”
“Sir , we didn’t know that you were the police…” he repeated.
“So it’s ok to try to kill anyone who isn’t the police? Is that how it works? Do you even realize that your stupid stunt could have gotten all three of us killed?”
They both looked at me wide-eyed with their mouths open. The driver was shaking now. Maybe I was finally starting to get through to him.
“You’re actually damned lucky that I am the police,” I exclaimed both sharply and loudly. “Anyone else might have knocked your head off for that, and they’d have done it with my blessing!” I paused, staring at him. “But you lucked out, because I’m not going to knock your head off.”
“Th-th-thank you, Sir…” he replied.
“Oh, don’t thank me yet,” I told him as I pulled my cuffs out. “You’re under arrest for Reckless Driving, Unsafe Operation, and being a dumb-ass without a permit.” I may have been a bit theatrical, but truth be told, I was getting more pissed the more I thought about what this joker'd done. And it was either take him in or just cut him loose with a couple of tickets. Frankly, the latter option just wasn't working for me so I hooked him. Maybe next time he'll think twice before trying to cut off another driver just for fun.
So as I write this, his (dad’s) car should just about be arriving at the impound yard on the flatbed tow truck and he’s waiting for his turn before the magistrate in the morning. His pal’s probably still hoofing it, too, seeing as how he didn’t have a cell phone with him.
"Can you call me a cab, Sir?" he asked when I told him that he could leave.
"No, I'll call you a dumbass just like your friend here. Start walking."
I’m willing to bet that if you ask either of them, they're wishing that they'd just let me get that speeder.
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