Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Why did you run?"

In Texas, a first DWI is a mere Class B misdemeanor, the lowest charge above a citation-worthy Class C. If caught, you will go through some mild setbacks, and then you're released with little if any stigma, sadly. Everyone knows this.

Yet some try to run, illustrating how alcohol will fog your brain to ludicrous proportions.

A drunk in an old pickup is going to try to outrun sober cops.
Who are in well-kept pursuit vehicles.
With radios.
With backup.


A very recent version of this involved a drunk weaving down the highway at just above the speed limit, with an officer known very well to me assisting another agency's lone pursuing patrol unit. Said assisting officer joined in with the pursuit/fail to yield, announced that he was taking the call (i.e.: the responsibility of informing Dispatch of the location, direction, speed, and specifics of the driver's actions), put the microphone down, and took an audible (heard by mobile video, not on radio) sip of coffee, before the pursuit began to heat up. Yawn.

When the drunk overestimated his ability to also physically run while intoxicated, and bailed out of his vehicle only to be tackled by the primary unit's officer, my very good friend assisted with handcuffing the resistant drunk. And, like he has every time that he's ever put hands on a running suspect, our hero asked this question: "Why did you run?"

The question is ubiquitous in the business, even if the pre-Miranda answer is of dubious value in court. But it's as natural to utter in that circumstance as it is to say "Ow" when stubbing one's toe, or "ahchichi" when burning one's self in Japan (aren't interjections fun, when mixed with anthropology?).

It's not just that we want to make our case. It's that we want to know. Why would you run? Why would you swerve in an out of traffic, eventually doubling the speed limit? What could possibly be worth running through intersections at speed, endangering other people? We just really want to know. Thus, the precipitant phrase at the bottom of every pursuit-ending pig pile that I've personally participated in was: "Why'd you run?"

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At Saturday, March 15, 2008 6:48:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

OK, but ya gotta tell what have been some of the best answers you got. Pretty please?

At Saturday, March 15, 2008 7:11:00 PM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

Same reason they are part of your clientele - they don't know any better.

Too much of an admission that they can't handle everything; too much trouble to take a taxi after drinking; too much money for the taxi ride that could be spent on more alcohol or cigarettes or other drugs.

I suppose I take the cynical view that the jail is half empty.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 7:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why _do_ they run?

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 8:29:00 AM, Blogger Murphy said...

Are the answers ever any good?

I would imagine that someone who would ditch his vehicle in an attempt to outrun the police cars by foot wouldn't have a very good answer, but I've been surprised before.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Matt, that would be the first, the second would be why are you driving drunk? Having witnessed more than one end result with bodies scattered over the road and the drunk sitting/sleeping in his wrecked car, I just cannot abide the releases for first time offenders or ANY DUI offenders. Maybe the way to get their attention is to put all of them drunk on a racetrack and the survivor 'only' has to go to jail for vehicular manslaughter... sigh...

At the minimum, first offense should lose the vehicle. Second office should be mandantory jail time, third time should be third strike law, throw the f*** under the jail and leave them there.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Mr Fixit and Edin and Murphy: That's a whole 'nother post.

Old NFO: The thing that kills me is that we still don't have a mandatory requirement for a breath interlock device after a first conviction. Hell, we just recently got it to be mandatory after a second conviction for DWI.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:17:00 PM, Blogger Sabra said...

The honest answer would be "Because I am an f***ing idiot." Which is pretty much also the answer to "Why are you driving drunk?" But it's probably not one you hear too often.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:24:00 PM, Blogger BobG said...

They run because some people are just plain-vanilla stupid.

At Sunday, March 16, 2008 9:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, I couldn't outrun a radio.

Even if I was fully loaded with god juice.

If you have a blue light entourage, its lawyer time ... the "I'm not there" time has ended.

At Monday, March 17, 2008 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Matt, I heard it damn near took and act of congress to get the interlock... Hell, just charge an extra $$ and make them mandantory on ALL vehicles and that would help.

At Monday, March 17, 2008 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Not Afraid to Use It said...

That make for great reading--all the stupid things drunks says when you pull them over. I guess that is why Cops and these other shows on Spike TV are still running. We have a fascination for the willfully stupid.

At Monday, March 17, 2008 3:07:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

It beats the hell out of me unless the person has outstanding warrants or a car full of dope.

I was stupid enough to drive home once when I was a little tipsy. Not to serious as I was driving way under the speed limit and just weaving back and forth in my own lane.

The cop that stopped me ask a few questions to which I answered truthfully. He pulled my car into and empty parking space in the lot where I pulled over and locked it.

He took down all my info, gave me a ride home, made sure I got in the house okay and gave me my keys, license, etc. and a piece of paper with the address to where my car was.

He told me that if he found that my car was gone from the parking lot in less than 16 hours he would finish writing out my DUI ticket and deliver it to me. He also gave me a stern but respectful lecture on the hazards of drunk driving. His last remarks were, "This is your first and only chance kid. Remember it and have a nice night."

I thanked him and went in the house and slept it off for about 12 hours. Got a shower, some food in me and picked up my car when the requisite 16 hours had expired.

A black and white cruiser just happened to drive by while I was picking up my car. I don't know if it was the same cop.

It's a damn big deal to get a DUI in Florida. You automatically spend 24 hours in jail. You automatically lose your license for 1 year and you automatically pay a $1,000.00 fine plus towing and storage fees for your impounded vehicle. You can not refuse the test for intoxication and they draw blood. No silly ass breathalyzers here.

I'd say that cop was a damn nice guy and to this day if I knew who he was, I'd go say thank you again.

I never, ever got behind the wheel when I had been drinking again. Not even if I only had 1 beer.

I guess what I am trying to pass on here is that 99.9% of the time, if you are honest with the cops and don't give them a hard time, they will go easy on you the first time around.

Running from them will definitely get you nowhere except more trouble. I had one old friend about 20 years ago that thought he could out run the cops because he was DUI for the 2nd time. He wound up killing himself and 3 innocent people in the other car he hit.

It's not worth it folks. Spend the lousy $10 or $20 for the taxi home or call someone. Down here you can call any tow truck service in Palm Beach County and tell them you feel too drunk to drive and don't have cab fare. They will come get you and your car and take you both home for free.

Think hard about it before you try to run from the law. The life you take may not be your own but you will definitely pay with your own and your family will pay too because they have to visit you the rest of your life in a 6x9 cell.

Remember, the cops are the good guys as long as you are good to them. They only get medieval on your ass when you show your ass.


At Tuesday, March 18, 2008 12:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same concept the chicken had when crossing, I suppose, but with a couple of corollaries: (1)they always smell bad (2) they never know why (3)don't tase me, bro! (4)severe and unreversable dumbassedness and a complete and wanton disregard for the general populus. Of course, when they wreck and kill themselves, it's a self-correcting problem.

At Saturday, March 22, 2008 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Ride Fast said...

Interesting. Maybe what we need is an ignition interlock that checks for "stupid".

At Sunday, March 23, 2008 9:29:00 AM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

"Ride Fast said...
Interesting. Maybe what we need is an ignition interlock that checks for 'stupid'".

That might be nice, far fewer vehicles on the road - the solution to traffic congestion.


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