A Story for the New Year
By Dan Shiner
The truth is, I don’t remember who the officer was that I was riding with……it sure could have been my friend Mark!!! If it wasn’t Mark, I’m sure he will appreciate the story.
I was the Night Lieutenant and was riding with an officer. The setting was a clear, dry, and relatively calm New Year’s Eve, if they can ever be “relatively calm”. It was rapidly approaching Midnight and we were in a marked patrol car heading westbound on Cook Street and approaching the intersection with S. Thornburg. We were discussing “who” would be the first arrestee of the New Year. When, much to my surprise, a vehicle appeared northbound on Thornburg at about 40 mph, ran the stop sign and almost took the front end of our patrol car off. The Officer (name unknown) calmly slowed and swerved. He activated his lights and siren as we turned northbound behind the old clunker of a car, and he calmly said….with a glee, “I think I know who it will be.”
We tried to get the vehicle to pull over for about two blocks. It finally pulled to the right, traveled another half block and stopped. We could see someone moving around inside, and suddenly the driver door opened. Out, jumps a male Hispanic (about 25 years old), and he turns back toward the car’s interior and begins to yell, seemingly unconcerned about the fact that the cops were behind him. We, of course, had rapidly exited our car and were cautiously watching what was going on. The driver continued to yell into the car. His language included a full line of expletives and the general content was, “get out of there you SOB. I told you not to drive!!!!” This went on for about sixty seconds and we watched with amazement, waiting for another suspect to exit the vehicle. Finally, the suspect appeared. It’s true, I promise. All of a sudden, a small Chihuahua jumped out of the driver’s side of the car. The male suspect continued to yell at the poor dog and the dog just pranced around at his feet, yipping.
Like any good officer(s), we quickly approached the driver and the errant Chihuahua, and attempted to find the other person inside the suspect vehicle.
Surprise, no one else was located!
Then, as we tried to deal with the male suspect, who reeked of alcohol and had all the objective signs of intoxication, we realized what was going on. The true suspect, the driver, was actually trying to convince us the Chihuahua had been driving. He was so emphatic about his story, he sobbed about our disbelief. It was our turn. We started laughing and laughed until we had tears in our eyes. We laughed so much the suspect even started laughing uncontrollably, and we all laughed some more. We were laughing so hard we had a hard time attempting to get the guy to try a field sobriety test, which he failed miserably, and had even more difficulty trying to regain our composure to the point that we could put handcuffs on him.
In the end, we did have the first arrestee of the New Year. We had a DUI driver with three priors! We had a Chihuahua! We had the best laugh of the year! And, we had the adrenalin rush of almost having the front end of our patrol car ripped off. The true danger eluded us, and the absolute absurdity of the situation prevailed. I still chuckle as I think about that poor little Chihuahua as it jumped from the car and as the driver gave it such a tongue-lashing.
We did save the suspect’s life, ours and the lives of others, but in my mind….we had one of the funniest stories of our career.