Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saving Lives, One Old Lady at a Time

After finding a lost dog, setting up signs for it around the neighborhood, and letting it spend the night in the garage, our family felt like we had done our good deed for the weekend. However, we had something much more exciting in store. Tonight on the way to the Mellow Mushroom with the kids, we noticed an old woman with a handicapped sticker driving erratically in a Cadillac in front of us. She was weaving, putting her blinker on for no reason, and then started driving up on the curb. When she re-entered the roadway, she continued her weaving and erratic path. Tony called 911 and followed her. While the 911 operator said they would send someone out, we weren't entirely sure where she was going or if they'd be able to find her, so we followed her. After about 2 miles of her weaving all over the road, we finally caught up with her and came up alongside her right. We looked over and she was actually asleep at the wheel AND her sun visor had become disconnected, sitting vertically and blocking her vision!

Soon, it became clear that she was approaching a 12-lane intersection with a red light on our side and was not going to stop. She appeared ready to just plow through the intersection, completely asleep. Tony sped past her to the intersection and started honking loudly, trying to get the attention of everyone around and warn her. She was about to be T-boned by a truck and/or hit a family van head-on, but the honking got that drivers; attention and they slowed just enough to be able to avoid her. The old lady finally put her brakes on and came to a stop in the middle of the intersection.

Tony ran out of our truck and over to her car. He used his police voice on her (I imagine this is a very cranky version of the professor voice), and convinced her to open the door. He asked her to back up slowly into the turn lane, and she did. He said she was very confused and then angry at him, accusing him of pulling her over without being a police officer, and saying that she didn't want the police to come because she had had run-ins with them before. She also said that she "wasn't asleep but the horn woke me up". She was obviously in a bad way. I called 911 again and reported our location, and after about 5 minutes they sent one officer.

Tony told the officer the story and then the left once the officer said we could leave. We were very relieved that no one was hurt, although we both thought for a moment as she headed for that intersection that she was a goner.

We headed back to Mellow Mushroom and ordered a Red Oak (local beer) for each of us and some pizza. Well, about 10 minutes after we got there, we saw the strangest thing. Up the street come two police cars, sirens blaring, lights on, following... guess who. Yup, our little old lady was running from the cops!

The Chase

A third police car finally joined the chase and they pulled her over about a block away from the restaurant where we were sitting outside, blue lights blazing, the whole bit. This pretty much stopped traffic for a while in that lane, and our whole restaurant patio was watching the drama. Of course, we had to explain what was going on, since, unfortunately, we knew exactly who she was. After about 20 minutes the police got her out of the car, into a police car, and a tow truck finally towed her car away. Let's hope she won't be getting her car or her license back for a long, long time.

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