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Saturday, January 23, 2010

JJ: Stationary Chase

I was out sweeping the sidewalk one Sunday morning when I heard a car starting up in the bank lot across the street. It got my attention because the engine was revving way up. It was an older model, maybe a 70's midsize, and the driver was a man. I guess he'd passed out in his car and spent the night there and by the way he was fumbling around it was obvious he was still drunk or stoned. The engine was screaming when he stuck it into reverse. The car smoked backwards in a curve and smashed into the concrete base of a light pole, but he kept his foot on the gas and the tires burning for a few seconds before he eased off . He must have been trying to get the transmission into drive but he kept fumbling with the shift lever and revving the engine in neutral or park. I did a quick 911 call and I guess it was a slow morning because the police showed up in a minute or two. When the cop walked up and tapped on the drunk's window, he gave him a panicky look, slammed the car into gear (reverse again,) hunched over the wheel, and floorboarded it. In reverse, with the back bumper still crumpled into that concrete base. It wasn't a successful getaway, but it was sure a smoky one. By the expression on the man's face when he looked over and saw the cop opening his door, he must have thought he'd been escaping and had been caught by the world's fastest LEO. The look was open-mouthed shock, priceless but fleeting -- he was out of the car and flat on his face on the ground a second later. The policeman flipped him out and shut the car off like he'd been practicing for that moment all his life. I wish I'd taken some pictures. After they hauled the driver and towed the car away I went over and looked -- he'd burned through the topcoat and perhaps 1/2" into the gravel underlayment before they got the door open and shut him down. I think a number of angels were pretty busy while that was going on. If he'd ever managed to get the car into drive and made it out into the street or onto the highway he would have killed someone. He was in no shape to be driving or probably even walking. TBC (Me)