The tones break the silence of the night. The MDT comes to life and the Dispatcher says “Burglary in Progress..elderly female home alone. Hears someone trying to come thru the side door of the residence.” My lights reflect of the street signs. The engine comes to life. Brand new car. Somewhere around 3,000 miles if I recall correctly. Accelerate. Brake. Accelerate. Brake. Passing thru multiple intersections with no problems. Lights. Sirens. Just doing our thing.
Dispatcher advised an update. “Female caller states suspect is in home. She hears the suspect in her living room at this time…” More acceleration. More braking. Still a long ways off. Like any cop, I wish I could be there already. But, also like any cop, we can not be everywhere for everyone.
It’s a blessing and a curse in a single moment of time… Coming up to another intersection. Total of 16 lanes to check. Three traffic lanes in four directions and four turn lanes. Lots of traffic. A lot to watch and register. Brake. Brake. Brake. Scanning left, right, left. Everyone stops for me.
Accelerate again. Then, the whole world changes. An explosion. I feel my car spin into the air. I can’t see anything. My unit comes to a stop after several violent spins and a half roll. Nothing but dust, shattered class, air bag debris. I feel the warmth of something running down my face.
Experience tells me I am bleeding. Experience also tells me “MOVE” do not just sit still. So I do. I cannot get out of the car. I crawl over the now broken MDT, radios and light controls. I am able to exit our the passenger side.
It takes me a few moments to get my balance. I am able to see another car. The damage is catastrophic. I slowly walk towards the other vehicle. Still not able to see very well. My head feeling like I’ve been hit with a bat. For a moment, I am unable to advise Dispatch what has happened. The words are wanting to come out, but I have no voice. All I see are the two injured people in the other car. Broken. Hurt. To this day, my heart hurts for what happened.
NO cop, ever goes to work with the idea of hurting anyone. I am no different. And, yet, I, standing there bleeding and disoriented, knowing I have done just that.
The investigation yielded, witnesses stated, the other vehicle had taken the turn lane (red light) to go around the other cars which had stopped to yield right of way to me. While the point of fault can be attributed to them, that moment certainly remains with me. Always has and always will. I felt compelled to share this story today not for me, but for another. A friend who had been in a single car “Fleet” (A term for Emergency Vehicle Car Crash) While that sucks, no doubt, I certainly wanted to convey, even our worst day can, you guessed it, get worse.
Like I mentioned earlier, no one wearing a badge, Police, Fire, EMS goes to work with the thought of trying to cause pain or suffering to another human being. I just don’t believe we do. Faith, I still have in what we do. Yet, here we are. There are days (nights) whereby, even with our best efforts, we try our hardest and still, a price is paid by someone. This is no easy task or undertaking. Serving and protecting others. It’s serious business. At times, it’s a life and death business. I wish nothing but the best to any First Responder who reads this. I pray for all of us, daily. Sincerely, I wish no ill towards anyone.
However, with that being said, it is our job, it is our Duty to continue forward. No matter what. For just as soon as one disaster is averted or resolved, three more have come to take its place.
And so, we go on…
Editor’s note: This was Rex Evans’ column in the current MCPR on news stands since Friday, and was not chosen in connection with recent local events