Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm thankful for 911

Weird. Weird. Weird. I hope one day my brain will recover.

I went to the movies tonight with Eliza and my sister, Casey. Never would I have imagined the way my night ended.
We left the theater ten minutes after eleven. We were at the cheap theater and got out of the latest show, so there were only about six cars in the parking lot. The car parked next to us had a few running lights on, so I assumed that someone had used their keyless entry to unlock it from across the lot. However, there was no one walking in the same direction as us.
I walked around to the passenger side of the truck away from the car. Eliza said in a very light-hearted tone, "Do you think that kid's dead?"
(You read it right. This story is going to be crazy!)
What kid? I hadn't seen anyone in the vehicle. I got out of the truck with Casey behind me. There was a young man in the driver's seat slumped over with his head lowered on the passenger's side. We waited a moment thinking that he must just be looking for something. Yet he didn't move at all.
Casey, which coincidentally means Brave, practiced courage as she walked over to the passenger window and starting knocking. She knocked and knocked and knocked. After the fourth or fifth time of knocking without a response, I suggested we call 911.
After a short moment, Casey knocked again. Finally, the kid slowly sat up. He never looked in her direction. He started rubbing his face the whole while she stood in the passenger window. He started nodding as one does when extremely tired.
She knocked again. He sat up slowly again touching his face with his hands. Still he did not look in her direction or notice that Eliza and I were also staring into his vehicle.
Casey walked around to the driver's side. He must've had his window down as she immediately began asking him questions. Again, he wouldn't look at her. That was when I called 911.
Casey asked him over and over again, "Are you waiting for someone? Did you just fall asleep in your car? Are you okay? Do you need help?"
He never looked at her and she said he never enunciated a clear response.
As I spoke with dispatcher, he sat there with an absent look and a lifeless body. Casey finally came around to the passenger side of Eliza's truck.
Shortly after I walked to the back of the truck to get his car make/model and license number, he started revving his engine. I told the dispatcher that if he could get the vehicle in gear, then he would likely start driving.
All the while, I wondered why we didn't have an emergency response vehicle yet on the scene. I pass numerous cops every night. Where were they now when I needed them?
He finally put his car into reverse. He backed up about four feet and then stopped. In the mean time, I had passed the phone to Casey so she could tell the dispatcher if she saw any paraphernalia or smelled anything strange.
As she explained that there was no physical evidence of drug or alcohol use, he managed to put the car in drive. He drove right over the cement curb. He swerved to miss another cement divide and then stopped.
He stayed there for about ten seconds, then he started driving again. He stopped. He stayed there for a moment.
Still there was no police car on scene.
When he started driving toward the light to get onto the main road, Eliza had us pull our doors closed and she started following him.
He very slowly rolled into the main road and turned right. Fortunately, the car in his lane was attentive enough to slow down and move out of the way.
Finally, a police car pulled in behind him. Two other cops were right behind.
We came around the corner to find the car successfully pulled over in a business parking lot. We pulled in as per the request of the dispatcher. An officer came to our window and we explained that we had called in the incident. He had us fill out witness sheets.
It was very evident that this boy was looped out on something. Watching the search process and sobriety tests, it was obvious that he was not coherent. The only way I know how to describe him in the car and standing with the cops is to say that he looked like a zombie or a body without a spirit.
The officer that took our statements didn't give us much detail but told us that prescription medication was found in his car. Likely, he overdosed.
The officer told us thank you a few separate times as this boy could have killed someone tonight had he tried to drive farther.

This leads me to the gratitude section.
I'm thankful for
1. Eliza and her dad's truck. Had we gone to the movies in her tiny car, none of us would have seen the boy. Because Eliza had to climb up into the tall beast, she was able to see right into his car. I'm also glad she said something, even in jest. She explained that she said it that way hoping that it would really be a joke and that he'd sit up and catch her looking in his car.
2. Casey's courage. I hope I would have been able to knock on the window and attempt to talk to the boy like Casey did. Anything could have happened, so it took much courage for Casey to do what she did.
3. 911 and cell phones. I don't know what we would've done had we had to handle this on our own. Also, I'm glad we didn't have to leave the scene to get to a phone. Who knows what would have happened.
4. Nice police officers. The officer who took our statement was so very kind. I know I'm in good hands with kind and knowledgeable officers like him.

Read Eliza's take on the evening.

2 comments:

Ashley said...

Wow, sounds like you had quite the eventful night. I'm so glad that you guys did something and by doing that you prevented a much more tragic thing from happening. You guys were all brave and you probably saved that guys life. It's good to know that you guys(my friends) have the courage to do the right thing and not walk away.

MIMA said...

CRAZY!!! I am glad you followed your gut and called 911. I am not really sorry I missed it. I would have cried for the poor messed up boy... cuz I am a sucker for crying you know. But really just empathize so deeply that it hurts me to tears. I am thankful you are who you are. All three of you.

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