Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad Combo: Drinking, Driving, and Poor Highway Patrol

On our way home from a wedding on Saturday night, we had an exciting pathetic long frustrating scary eventful ride. As you can glean from the title, it involved a drunk driver. Thankfully, that drunk driver was not me (I was driving), and that drunk driver did not hit me. We are safe.

Let’s recount the drive’s events. We were traveling southbound on a major highway. At mile marker 140, we noticed a driver in the left-hand lane who appeared to be intoxicated. We assumed such because the driver was swerving severely all over the road. I say left-hand lane lightly, because they were only in that lane 60% of the time. The rest of the time they were either in the grass beyond the hard shoulder or mid-way between the lanes. Their speed ranged from 60-80 mph. I was driving along, and not having noticed the driver immediately, got closer and closer in an attempt to pass. Sudden swerving on their part was enough to get my guard up and back off significantly. Other drivers noticed the same thing, and most were not brave enough to pass either.

At mile marker 130 (southbound markers go in decreasing order, so this is obviously 10 miles later), the driver almost ran off of a bridge and we decided to call the police. My friend Jim did the calling and talking, and his 911 call resulting in him being told to call highway patrol. He made that call as well and described the situation. After no police action, we passed a patrol car staked out at mile marker 115, but the drunk driver was hidden in the left lane behind a tractor trailer! Boo. Jim called highway patrol again to tell them that the officer had just missed the vehicle, but that if they hurried on the highway soon, they’d be able to catch up. Nothing happened. Meanwhile, we continued to follow him (safely, of course).

At mile marker 91 (yes, 39 miles after we called the police), the driver side-swiped a van’s trailer. The driver of the van swerved back onto the road and continued to drive, so we were unsure if anyone was planning to stop. A few minutes later, the drunk driver and the van driver both pulled over (except the drunk driver pulled over to the left side). We pulled over too, since we had already called the police twice and we were witnesses. It looked like everyone was fine. Drunkie got out of his car and started to cross the highway. He must have realized this was a bad idea, because he got back into his car. He then proceeded to speed diagonally across all lanes of traffic directly towards my car. He missed my front headlight by about 8 inches before he pulled over into the grass. You won’t believe what happened next.

He got out of his car, but this time we could see him thanks to my headlights. He was so drunk he could barely walk. He had also completely soiled his pants. He also had a bottle of beer in his hand as he walked towards us. Scared out of my willies about what he might do to us, I drove around him and parked about 100 feet ahead. We called highway patrol AGAIN (#3) and told them about the incident. We were assured that someone was on the way.

Next crazy event: the van driver drove up the highway and pulled right in front of me. He got out and Clark joined him outside to chat. The guy was an older biker dude and told Clark about the drunk guy. Apparently he (Drunkie) was a Marine and had been overseas several times. The guy felt bad for Drunkie, so he wasn’t going to press charges. Since his wife had already called the police about the accident, he urged Drunkie to get back into his car and get out of the area as fast as he could (!!). Yeah, I wouldn’t lie.

As the drunk got back on the road, of course so did we, and we continued to follow him, sure that he would hurt/kill someone else. Since we were no longer waiting for the police to show up at the scene of the accident as we had reported, Jim called highway patrol again (#4) to let them know we were all on the move again. Again, we were assured someone was coming.

We continued the same way for a long time. I mean a LONG time. We passed our exit to go home. Frustrated, angry, and worried that the police weren’t coming, Clark decided to call again. Maybe they weren’t taking Jim’s calls seriously. Maybe they needed some more motivation. He made a very serious call (#5) urging them to send police. As a group, we decided we would follow this guy as long as we needed to. It had started to rain, and I was shaking with nervousness about all the horrible things that could happen.

At mile marker 63, we finally saw flashing blue lights. Thank goodness. 67 miles/1.5 hours after we had called the police for the first time. Unbelieveable. The man was arrested right away. We stuck around and the officer crossed the highway to get the scoop from Clark and Jim who were waiting outside (in the rain). By the time they had both finished filling out their police reports, there were a total of 3 patrol cars and a tow truck on the scene. Funny…they sure did get out there quickly when they got the message. Ha. Anyway, so they got the guy before he killed anyone. Waytogoawesomehighwaypatrol. We made a U-turn and headed back home, safe and sound.

Drunk drivers are buttholes.


AmyB said...

WOW. Thats an insane story. I'm evil, and I don't call 911 anymore unless ABSOLUTELY necessary (which, yours was) because Verizon charges me 2.75 EACH time I call 9-1-1!? Thats crazy.

BTW, you are quite the southerner, using "mile markers" and all.

Lauren said...

Wow Jess - thank goodness you guys (and everyone else on the road) is OK! I still can't understand why people think it's a good idea to drive while not fully in charge of your faculties..yikes!

I just found your blog yesterday, and it's been fun reading about your life down south - miss you! :)