Saturday Story

As I have said, the off-sense of humor is often the coping mechanism for the other stuff. Like lies.

A Lie Is a Lie

Cops lie; I know that is a big surprise to everyone but it’s true. Cops lie. Sometimes it’s in court, which is bad and other times in just to some street person, which is also bad but not illegal.

There are white lies, and big ole’ whoppers. And then there are the ones that eat at you for the rest of your life.

The initial call was a MVA (motor vehicle accident), with injuries; Kahakili Hiway fronting Temple Valley Shopping Center. I was only 3 or 4 minutes away so I hit the blue light and siren and headed to the scene. It was around 9:30 on a Saturday night and I can still remember the image of my blue lights reflecting off the houses as I drove toward the accident scene

I’ll never forget the scene from hell that greeted me. There were at least three bodies in the road, one vehicle was on fire, the other vehicle had been obviously been hit head on as the front was crushed and both front doors were wide open. The vehicle had been spun part way around and was facing the direction it had come.  Cars had stopped in both directions and people appeared to be trying to help. A quick visual assessment and I grabbed the radio mike and advised dispatch I needed four ambulances, two HFD (Honolulu Fire Department) units, some assisting officers, and a supervisor. Looking at the unmoving bodies in the road I also advised they should probably get the “Major” traffic detail on route.

 The Major Traffic unit handled only traffic accidents with extreme injury or death.  I could see the injuries already; I hoped there would be no deaths.

The first ambulance was pulling up along with a responding fire truck. The EMT’s went to work on those lying in the street and the firemen did what they do, put out the fire.

The vehicle on fire appeared to be an older style Camaro, 70 or 71 and was missing the front right wheel. Not just the tire, but the whole wheel. The deep gouge marks in the asphalt indicated just where the tire was lost. The marks indicated that upon losing the wheel, then Camaro dipped to the right, the hub dug into the asphalt,  the driver then tried to correct the sudden right turn, over compensated, swung into the oncoming lane hitting a small Datsun head on.

The Datsun was a small 4 door, with six teenage girls heading home after a party. The Camaro driver was thrown head first through the windshield, where he laid almost on the center line. The car again swung to the right where it stopped and caught fire.

Two of the three front seat passengers of the Datsun were also thrown out their vehicle, one to the right where she wound up in the ditch, and the other into the roadway just feet from the flaming Camaro.  The third was just slammed into the dashboard and was barely conscious. The back seat passengers tried to get out of the Datsun and when they did, found they could not stand they were so badly shaken. They were not badly hurt, just very shaken up.

This is the scene when I arrived; bodies in the street, a Datsun seemingly crushed, and a Camaro on fire. A scene from hell.

The Datsun’s driver was badly injured. She had sustained traumatic injuries from the vehicle impact as well as facial damage from impact with the roadway. The front right passenger had landed on the shoulder and rolled into the roadside ditch and sustained very little injury. The remaining passengers were injured in varying degrees from the impact, but none seriously.

The Camaro driver was dead. This was one of the accidents that were later presented as an example for mandatory seatbelt use. None of the seven people involved were wearing one.  I won’t even try to list his injuries.  His skull was smashed from impact with the roadway and his neck broken from going through the windshield. Anything else is irrelevant.

The traffic unit showed up and took over the scene. It was theirs from now until completed. But there was one more job and it got handed to me because it was my beat. One of the investigators pointed out the lug nuts and the center of the “custom” rim still on the hub. There had been a catastrophic failure of the rim that had caused the accident.

The injured had been loaded and driven away, the Camaro driver was still in the road until all the drawings and pictures were done. He was then loaded into an ambulance and driven off the Castle Hospital. I was sent on the last step of my involvement.

I drove to the address listed on the Camaro driver’s license. A nice middle class family home in Kaneohe just at the edge of my beat. There were tools and car parts in the driveway telling me the Camaro was a project car. Probably out for a test drive. That would explain the rim failure. He had probably purchased the rims second hand to save a few bucks.

The lights were on in the living room, a television was playing, and when I knocked on the door a teenage girl answered. I asked if the husband and wife were home and the girl turned and yelled “Mom, Dad, he’s in trouble again, there’s a cop at the door.”

The parents had probably been watching television in the bedroom. When they answered the door, they both appeared to be more than a little angry. The Camaro driver had probably gotten a few tickets already.

I introduced myself, advised them their son had been in an accident and they needed to go to Castle Hospital ER as quickly as possible.

 This was a lie; I knew their son was dead. I sent them to the hospital with a false sense of hope their son was only injured.

There are white lies, and big ole’ whoppers. And then there are the ones that eat at you for the rest of your life.

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