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Departments : The Beat

Drunk Driver Tells All

In some cases, there's just no denying reality.

August 01, 1998  |  by Bill Morrissey

In some cases, there's just no denying reality.

Both officers were exhausted from the many calls they had an­swered on their tour. It was time to hit off and go home. Their hats were pushed to the backs of their heads, neck­ties pulled down, and the top buttons on their shirts opened. The driver, Doug, looked over to his partner. "Bill, this midnight shift is a killer. I can't wait to get this car back to the station and turn it over to the day shift."

Bill's eyes flickered open and he mumbled, "Uh-huh."

The driver kept talking and every once in a while his partner automatically bobbed his head forward, blinked his eyes and said, "Yeah, yeah."

The one-way conversation contin­ued until the tranquillity was broken by squealing tires and car horns. Doug looked in the rear view mirror and shouted, "Bill, wake up! We got a crazy coming up behind us, weaving in and out of traffic, forcing people off the road."

Bill straightened up and his eyes caught the blur of a car passing them on the right side. He jumped to the middle of the seat as it narrowly missed the scout car and shouted, "Get that SOB, he's going to kill somebody!"

Doug activated the overhead red lights and siren and pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The acceleration forced both officers back into their seats. Bill grabbed the mike from its cradle. "Dispatcher, this is unit number 10. We're in a high ­speed pursuit with a 1987 blue Olds, Ohio license 2A (Able) 349, headed south on 1-280 at Manhattan Boulevard. Speed in excess of 90 mph."

The dispatcher acknowl­edged, "OK, unit number 10, we copy. Keep us informed of your location. All units in the area assist unit number 10."

Doug concentrated on the speeding car. He maneuvered in and out of the traffic, stay­ing right on the car's tail. Bill had one hand on the dash­board for support and the other was squeezing the mike. He started to inform the dis­patcher of their new location when the speeding car crossed two traffic lanes and struck a culvert. A cloud of dust and dirt exploded from under the speeding car as it went out of control and became airborne.

The driver fought the steering wheel, trying to gain control. The car came down with the wheels locked to the right. The front of the car went down, and the rear end went up. It flipped twice and landed on its roof. Sparks flew as it slid, spinning from one side of the highway to the other. It slammed into a utility pole, sheared it and sent it flying. The pole nar­rowly missed the pursuit scout car. Wires and spitting sparks bounced off its hood.

The inverted car then flipped on its side and continued sliding, with smoke and sparks erupting where metal met pavement. It came to an abrupt stop when it slammed into the metal and con­crete supports of the overpass.

Both officers jumped from their car and were met by a cloud of dust, steam and smoke. They waved their hands in front of their faces to clear the air. Small pieces of broken glass sparkled on the street and as the officers ran over them, they made a crackling, grinding sound.

Reaching the wrecked car, which was lying on its side, the officers started to climb up on it to get to the driver.

A man's head slowly emerged from a broken window. Both officers shouted, "Are you hurt?"

He slowly shook his head and with one eye open, slurred, "Naaaa."

Doug shouted, "Are you drunk?"

The man stiffened and his eyes widened as he nodded. He blurted out in an intoxi­cated slur, "Hell yes, I'm drunk. What do you think I am, a stunt driver?"

 Bob Morrissey, a retired police officer; is a 33-year veteran of the Toledo (Ohio) Police Department.

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