Need Help? Call the Friendly Police Department
These emergencies may or may not be candidates for discussion on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno's" "Dealing with the Public," but they certainly highlight law enforcement officials' quick-thinking approach when confronted with urgent situations. They might even be candidates for Darwin Awards.
Kia makes a racing engine?
- U.S. Interstate 35, near Bethany, in northwest Missouri. A woman in a Kia Sorento called 911 when her accelerator stuck at full throttle. Fortunately, after her car reached speeds exceeding 110 mph -- in a Kia??? -- two state troopers (who doubtless had an adrenaline-fueled blast careening up the Interstate at well over 100 mph) boxed her car in and guided her into the median.
According to an Associated Press news report, "The three vehicles traveled 59 miles in 35 minutes, before the woman's vehicle stopped." The driver, the troopers, and nearby cows were unhurt. Thank goodness the Missouri Highway Patrol was nearby.
But we wonder why the 911 operator didn't simply suggest putting the car into neutral and coasting to a stop, as most experts recommend? With rev limiters on all modern cars, the "racing" engine might have sounded like hell, but it probably wouldn't have blown. Even if it had, and even if the driver had lost the inevitable lawsuit against Kia, spending a few thousand dollars on an engine is cheaper than a funeral.
How 'bout a ride?
- U.S. Interstate 10, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Catherine Baucom was on her way to work at her hospital, but a morning traffic jam caused by a multi-vehicle crash did what traffic jams were invented to do: It stopped all traffic.
Well, the doctor had a surgery to perform, and she wasn't going to let a little thing like gridlock get in her way. She hopped off the Interstate and borrowed a bicycle. A bicycle belonging to a seven-year-old girl. A good, law-abiding citizen, the nearly-six-foot-tall Dr. Baucom, clad in a green surgical outfit, put on the little girl's pink bike helmet and pedaled off to work. Not the wisest color combination, but then we never have the right wardrobe for unplanned bike rides, either.
Police stopped what obviously was a crazy lady, riding a kid's bicycle down the Interstate. But, like good-looking women everywhere, Dr. Baucom talked her way out of a ticket; officers realized the importance of her journey, so they escorted her the rest of the way.
Wonderfully helpful, Baton Rouge police! But, um, rather than "escorting" the doctor, couldn't you simply have given her a ride in a patrol car? Anyway, if we ever need surgery, the dedicated, never-give-up Dr. Baucom now is our gal!
Rescue me ... from the police!
- A neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington. A deaf Tacoma woman being attacked in her apartment called 911 on her video phone; the interpreter notified a Tacoma police dispatcher of the citizen's predicament. From news reports, the woman said, "Right now! This is serious. ... Please hurry, there's a person beating me up. ... She's fighting me, she chokes me. She's coming right at me."
To the rescue come Tacoma police officers Ryan Koskovich and Michael Young.
The two policemen had been told several times that the victim was deaf, but, in the interest of -- well, we don't know what -- they decided to taser the victim when she ran out of her house to the safety of the approaching officers. To further protect themselves, the policemen handcuffed the deaf victim and hauled her off to the slammer for obstruction and assault. She spent 60 hours in lockup, with no access to an interpreter, which she repeatedly requested (and which the law requires), before being released.
Thank you, but if this is a Tacoma rescue, we'd rather subject ourselves to the beating.
Pretty serious cops, with tasers
From other news reports:
- A Chicago woman, who was eight months pregnant, was tasered for parking in a handicapped space. They're pretty serious about enforcing the "no handicapped hang-tag" ordinance around those parts.
- In Casselberry, Florida, police tasered an uncooperative guy three times after apprehending him for the heinous crime of jaywalking. He was charged with resisting arrest and battery. These folks are serious about scofflaws, too.
- And, while arresting her mother in a Victoria's Secret store for traffic tickets, St. Louis police tasered a 12-year-old girl. Damn it, Mom!
Dedicated police work
- Lest you think we believe all police officers and dispatchers are idiots, here is a feel-good story about dedicated police work:
In Hanoi, Vietnam, police Lt. Nguyen Manh Phan stopped the driver of a 39-passenger bus for driving on the wrong side of the road. But the offender jumped back into the bus and drove away.
With Lt. Phan dangling precariously from the bus's windshield wipers.
Phan got his man after a harrowing ride of more than half a mile, and certainly deserves our kudos for persistence in the pursuit of public safety. It turns out that the driver previously had served nearly four years in prison after a fatal traffic accident.
Of course, there's more to each of these incidents, but researching all the facts isn't nearly as much fun as just reporting the entertaining parts.