Thank you to CaptRawesome for sharing this very important story on Imgur.
It was 0700 on New Year's Day. I had just started my shift, finished loading up all of my gear, and grabbed my heavy cold weather gear from my locker.
It was cold (as it often is in this part of the country 'round January). I remember thinking it might be a slow day- with the weather and it being a holiday.
Unfortunately the dreadful dame, about which our tale is wrapped, had other ideas.
The call came out as an obstruction in the roadway that had caused a crash. A small pickup had struck something in the roadway and the driver had called 911. While en route, dispatch advised that the driver of the truck had called back and said that whatever was in the road might have caused multiple crashes - because they thought they could see another vehicle ahead of them on the interstate.
When I arrived, I found the caller sitting in her truck on the shoulder of a four lane interstate. Both of her driver's side tires were flat, and she had some decent body damage to the front of the truck as well.
The sun was just beginning to lap at the horizon - a tiny sliver of light. I couldn't see much in either direction of the interstate, outside the little illumination island that my car's emergency lights cast. I couldn't see what the caller had hit, but it was big enough to do some substantial damage to her little truck.
Up ahead I was able to make out the outline of another car. They'd probably also hit whatever it was in the road.
I make my way up to the second vehicle, and find it parked: no lights on, not running - just parked.
My keenly trained observation skills, carefully honed and perfected over several years of practice worked immediately to pick up on the fact that this car ain't quite right. Something is amiss. This, was Sherlock level deduction.
Three wheels make for a bad date, but it makes for a worse car. The front driver's side wheel and tire were totally gone. Not in the metaphorical "the wheel's totally trashed, and will need replacing."- kind of way.
Will this police officer figure it out? Continue to the next page to read what happened next.
No. It was gone in the literal "Did your car have four wheels when you left home this morning? Well what the hell happened since then??" -kind of way.
(What I will later discover, once the sun has risen, is that the wheel and tire had been gone a while. How long is "a while"? About 3/4 of a mile.)
I look in through the tinted driver's window of the car and I can make out a woman in her late twenties sitting there. Calmly. Hands in her lap, staring out the front windshield. The car isn't running, the radio isn't playing. She might as well have been Forrest Gump, sittin' on the bench waitin' for the bus.
Odd behavior for someone driving a 3-wheeled car, or so I thought.
I knock on the window several times and she finally turns, and looks surprised to see me. She stares - dumbfounded that anyone would be knocking on her car window at 0715 on New Year's Day. She stares. I stare back. She stares. I stare back.
After a while, I make the International sign for "Roll down the window, moron." After a hard-fought battle with the window-crank, Terry snatches victory from the jaws of defeat (the issue was seriously in doubt). She manages to roll her window down part of the way and my nose is immediately flooded with the stale smell of booze rolling out of the car. It didn't so much smell like she'd been drinking - but more like she swam in it.
Ms. Terry Wolfmeyer is schnackered.
"I'm parked in the lines." she slurs out.
"Yes, that's true. But why are you parked ON the Interstate?" I inquired. For she was indeed parked inside the lines, the lines that marked lane dividers.
"I has a flat tire...I'm just waiting on a ride..."
A flat tire? While I was busy trying to absorb the understatement of the day, I heard a soft sob.
I looked passed Terry to see a little girl of about four years old, seated on the front passenger seat. No seat belt, no car seat, no coat - shivering and crying. "Sweetheart, are you cold?" I asked the little one, and she nodded.
Continue to the next page to see what happened with Anna and this incredible police officer.
Not subtle, but probably effective.
My sergeant had arrived on scene after clearing the missing wheel from traffic, so it wouldn't cause anymore accidents. I waved him up and motioned toward the passenger seat. He looked through the window, and in an instant, his expression changed from curious bewilderment at the scene to Defcon 2 level of pissed off.
"Get out of the car." I told Terry. Another botched battle with the tricky car interior ensued. After a valiant show she managed to find the door release and try to get out. As she attempted to exit she was reminded of why step 1 is step 1, as her seat belt tossed her unceremoniously back into her seat. After decoding the riddle of the seat belt, Terry poured herself out of the driver's seat.
I rarely get angry at work. I've probably been angrier than I was that morning, but I sure can't remember when.
Terry stumbled, fumbled, and bungled her drunk ass through the field sobriety tests. They were more or less a formality after Terry sloppily announced: "I'm gonna tell you I'm drunk." I heard her the first time, and told her as such, but that didn't deter her from informing me three more times during anyway.
During the Walk and Turn test (walking the line), the instructions are to walk 9 steps down the line and 9 steps back. When she started, Terry was counting her steps out loud: "one...two...three..." just like she was supposed to. But she'd forgotten one important bit: I'll be damned if she didn't forget to move her feet. She was standing in place, but counting out loud. Sobriety test: Level Zen.
When she did finally move her feet to take a step she stumbled and nearly ate it right in the middle of the interstate.
Continue to the next page for the rest of this story.
This blitzed broad had piled her car into something hard, because along with the missing front wheel, the front end was fairly well destroyed. Not content to let one mistake derail this sequence of stupidity, she got her car back on the road and continued motoring right up until the wheel falls right off.
Terry doesn't know the meaning of defeat, (or Felony, or Child Abuse, or Rehab, for that matter) so she decided she was just gonna turn up the stereo to drown out that new noise and power through. She chugs right along leaving a nice silver gouge in the asphalt for about 3/4 mile. It worked, right up until the exposed rotor finally digs into the pavement and grinds this troubled train to a halt.
I walked over to where the little girl was staying warm in Sarj's car.
Poor little Anna was upset and crying because she had no idea where her mommy went. I made sure not to handcuff Terry in front of her little girl, which was a courtesy for Anna, not Terry.
I spoke with Anna for a few minutes, making sure she was starting to feel warmer (she was).
"Did something bad happen to your mommy's car today?" I asked her quietly.
"Yeah." she whispered
"Can you tell me about it?"
"Mommy's car hit a tree." Anna said slowly "it was scary."
Anna wasn't able to tell me much more, she was four - it's not like she could rattle off street names. She just remembered it was loud and she didn't like it.
Continue reading this incredible and heartbreaking story on the next page.
Unfortunately Anna was still about nine years from grasping just how horrible this whole situation was - and how mommy is the problem, not the solution. Right now, she just wanted her mommy. I went to the trunk of my car and grabbed something that I hoped might help.
I came back to Sarj's car and knelt down beside Anna.
"I've got a friend that wants to meet you. Would that be ok?"
I presented a soft stuffed penguin that I had been holding behind my back.
"This is Poppy. Poppy this is Anna. Poppy is very pleased to meet you, Anna. Would you like to hold him?"
I handed her Poppy and she gingerly held him and looked at me to gauge my reaction. I smiled.
"It's Ok, Sweetheart - he likes you. He likes hugs too. Do you like hugs?"
She nodded and hugged Poppy to her chest.
"Poppy has been riding with me in my Police Car for a while, and he's a great Penguin, I like him a lot. But he told me that sometimes it gets too cold in my car, and he would really like a nice warm home to go to. Would you like to take Poppy home?"
That little girl's eyes lit up and this gorgeous smile appeared on her face. Suddenly I wasn't cold anymore. I was simultaneously happy, and further enraged at Terry for terrifying this sweet little girl.
Anna nodded enthusiastically and said, "Yeah."
Anna and I talked for a few more minutes about what Poppy should eat, and where he would sleep (In her bed - of course; she informed me) and what kinds of things they would do together. It was adorable. If I wasn't legally prohibited from "SQUEE-ing" in uniform - I might have let out the manliest damn SQUEE the world has ever heard.
Meanwhile, Sarj was working on getting a hold of Terry's father.
Sarj gets an answer on the other end of the line from Terry's dad, we had clearly woken him up.
"Sir this is Sgt [name redacted]. Are you Terry's father?"
"Yes." Anna's grandpa doesn't seem fazed at all to be talking to the Police at 0700 hours on a Holiday morning.
"It's about your daughter."
"And...?" he asks.
"Well she's in some trouble..." Sarj tells him
"She's arrested, right?"Grandpa asks.
"Yes sir." Sarj replies.
"And...?" Grandpa asks.
Continue to the last page to see how this story ends.
"And she'll be going to [name of jail]."
"AND...?" Grandpa asks again, a little less patiently than before. Terry's dad still does not seem surprised that he's been awakened for what is clearly not breaking news about his daughter's [most recent] arrest. "I ain't bonding her dumb ass out." He announces.
"Well sir, she has Anna with her. Anna was in the car when Terry wrecked."
This got Grandpa's attention. This was a new development. Grandpa said he'd be right there, and true to his word - he came to pick up Anna in less than 10 minutes.
I don't think Anna and Grandpa got to see each other much under drunken Queen Terry's rule, because the hello hugs and the excitement between the two of them was electric, and it warmed my cold, angry heart.
I was truly very happy that we were able to locate a relative to come and pick her up, and one that seemed to genuinely care for her well being so much. I watched them hug and giggle for a few minutes before turning my attention back to Terry.
Terry would later blow a .159 BrAC Breath Alcohol Content*.
That's essentially DOUBLE the legal limit of alcohol in her body. It's not the highest BrAC I've ever seen, but it's definitely the highest I've ever seen in a driver transporting someone who wasn't old enough to make the conscious decision on whether or not to ride with a hammered drunk driver.
*Breath Alcohol Content is similar to Blood Alcohol Content, in that it measures the amount of alcohol in the blood, but through expelled breath rather than drawn blood. Due to the blood: breath ratio, the BAC is actually about 10-15% higher that the BrAC taken at the same time. So Terry's Blood Alcohol Content would have been closer to .180 mg/dL.
We never did find out what Terry hit in the beginning. There weren't any trees along that interstate for several miles back the way she'd come. She's so lucky she didn't hurt or kill Anna, since Anna wasn't buckled into a car seat in back.
I don't know what ended up happening as far as who Anna stayed with permanently. I know that Grandpa watched over her for a while because Terry stayed in jail for a bit. When she got out, Child Protective Services got involved in the mix as well. If nothing else - at least a few more people are looking out for Anna now, which ups her odds against mom, even if it is just a little bit.
Thanks for reading everyone.
Take care of yourselves and each other. And I don't mean to get all preachy, but please don't drink and drive. Even if you're not transporting an Anna, you're driving around other cars that are.
Share this story to spread this message. Sharing = caring.
Share this story to spread this message. Sharing = caring.