A Dangerous Thing to do

1997 CavalierAs we look back on the years we’ve all said the phrase

“man I was dumb”

or

“what was I thinking?”

This one tops the cake, but it happened a long time ago so don’t worry, it’s just a tale of what could have been and almost was.

It was July 25th, the weekend of the democratic national convention in 2004 (Where Barack Obama was to speak ironically enough). My good friend (and roommate at the time) Brian and I were on our way to Boston to see some friends for the Whiskey Company BBQ. We were driving my stupid (pseudo) pimped-out cavalier (pictured at the Grand Canyon). Tinted windows, sound system, headlight covers, mirror-tint Chevy symbols in the rear windows, you get the idea. At about 1:30 in the morning on an empty 6 lane highway somewhere near Boston we got pulled over.

This cop came out of nowhere. I still don’t know whether he was in a turn-around watching for cars or whether he was just driving along. Either way he came up on us at about 90Mph lights blazing. I pulled off to the side thinking he was headed to some emergency but no he pulled up right behind us.

Awesome.

License and registration

“Sure thing” I answered while fumbling in my glove box. As I handed them over I politely asked, “Is there something wrong officer?”

I know everyone says they weren’t doing anything wrong but in this case we really weren’t. I couldn’t even fathom why he had pulled us over. He made some lame excuse about how we had changed lanes too quickly while passing a car and headed back to his car with my license and registration. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth since there was nobody else on the road. We hadn’t even been passed since being pulled over.

When the cop came back to my car it was the only time in my life he came back without a ticket. However he came back up on the PASSENGER side. He then asked for Brian’s license.  He handed it over without question.

The officer then proceeded to pester us both about “items we have in the car which he should be aware of”. After about the 8th time (no joke) I said “look, you can search the car if it’ll make you feel better”. He immediately responded “I’m gonna take you up on that, step out of the car please.”. wow, not the first and definitely not the last, but a BIG mistake on our part.

He had us walk away from the car and sit on the guard rail facing AWAY from the car while he searched.

We’re just gonna stop there for a second, let you absorb this picture.

He comes back to us, twirling my baseball bat in his fingers. ‘What’s this for?’

‘baseball’ I say. not much else to tell…

To be honest I don’t even remember what happened after that. The next thing I remember is driving down the road thinking ‘holy shit what the hell was that about’.

It could have ended a lot worse. a LOT worse.

Don’t ever turn your back on the only evidence proving your innocence.

If you’ve done nothing wrong and a police officer is harassing you, call the local police department or 911. don’t just put up with it and think “holy crap” after the fact like we did. it might not end that well for you.

We were lucky, very lucky.

8 thoughts on “A Dangerous Thing to do

  1. That is truly scary stuff. We've all been raised to trust people in uniforms but sadly that can leave you very vulnerable. My personal policy is only open the car window enough to talk but not enough that someone can reach in, lock all doors, and never ever get out when no witnesses around. I was pulled over once for no reason at all. The cop asked me how my car was running , looked at my license, inspection sticker, and my tires, and let me go. He did not offer to change my oil *so lame*.

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  2. Oh I gotcha. Well… I don't really regret the Cavalier. I regret selling it simply because it was an amazing car I never had to do anything to and had it paid off. I sold it to 'upgrade' to my current car. My current car is amazing, don't get me wrong, but it's cost me a ton more than keeping the old one would have, and it's not what I need anymore which means I have to get rid of it anyway…I don't have an automobile regret yet. I've loved all my vehicles.

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  3. As the passenger in this story I can testify to the "WTF"ness of having a cop search the car with our backs facing away from it. In retrospect it was a bad idea and until that exact moment I trusted the police almost implicitly.As Randy says here, this is a lesson in personal privacy and your rights as a citizen.

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