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The Death of A Teenager
By James D.F. Samdavid1
Monday, September 09, 2002
Death of A Teenager
This is a true story based on an alcohol related death. All names and locations have been changed.
Chapter 18; Journal of A Chicago North Shore Police Officer
I saw the blue 1968 Chevy four-door fly through the intersection just prior to my entering it. I estimated the speed of the car at approximately forty-five miles an hour. As I entered the intersection of Green Bay and Maple I turned on my overhead red lights and made a sharp U-turn giving pursuit of the speeding vehicle. When I turned on my siren the short pursuit ended within two or three blocks once the driver, Jason Brickman, saw my lights and heard my siren.
I knew Jason, as I had issued a few tickets to him in the past. I knew that he was a typical young teenager and was really a good guy. Sometimes he would just get in with the wrong crowd and screw up. I decided before I walked up to the stopped Chevy that I was going to give him a pass, that is if he would allow me to do so and not be in a pissy mood. Sometimes people talk themselves into a citation before they ever know why they are being stopped. I think Jason knew why he was being stopped and he certainly knew me.
“Hey Officer David.” Jason said as I leaned down and asked him to drop his driver’s window. “Sure, sure. Hey, I know I was going a little fast and I am sorry but I was trying to get home before curfew.” “Well Jason, it seems that you didn’t make it. It is now eleven-forty, well past curfew. That makes you an unlawful driver, plus your speeding charge.”
“Would you please step out of your vehicle?” “Why? Why can’t I just drive the few blocks home and put my car in the garage?” “Jason, you can not drive after curfew, you know that. I have no choice, now please step out of the vehicle for me.”
As Jason opened the door and placed his left foot on the street for support he started to fall and I grabbed a hold of him keeping him from taking a tumble. “Whoa there partner looks like you may have been drinking tonight. Have you?” “Well, hell yeah, I was over at Kastorick’s and had a few tonight.” “Let me ask you something Jason. Were the parents at home when you had the few beers?” “Hell yeah, they are always there. They don’t mind if we drink it happens all the time.”
When I heard that the Kastorick’s would allow young kids to drink in their house in their presence and then let them drive home afterwards caused me to see red. I knew at this point I would not be able to prove that they had, so I filed the information in the back of my mind. I would make a few notes later into my journal.
“Okay, Jason here is what we are going to do. I know that all in all you are a damn good kid and I am not going to bury you with a shit load of citations. You are not the one that deserves them at this point and time. Get into my squad and wait for me while I park your car in the lot over there.” I drove his Chevy across the street, locked it and took the keys.
When we got to Jason’s house I assisted him up to his front door and knocked. “Hey you aren’t going to spill the beans on the Kastorick’s are you?” Mrs. Brickman came to the door after a few moments and seemed shocked to see me standing there with her son, Jason. “What’s wrong officer?” “Mrs. Brickman it seems that Jason was caught driving after curfew and had a few beers under his belt. I felt that my bringing him home would be the best thing to do. Next time, if there is a next time, I will have to write him up and have one of his parents come down and bail him out. Do we understand each other?” “Yes, officer I understand you clearly and thank you for bringing my boy home safely. I assure you that it will not happen again.” I handed her the keys and advised her of the location of the now parked Chevy.
Over the years I have found that taking someone home instead of writing a citation is perhaps a better way to handle it. Not in all cases, but you have to play it by ear on this job. Sometimes it works and sometimes it backfires. I had no idea of how bad this one would backfire.
I made an entry into my journal and more or less put it in the back of my mind. However I knew that I was going to keep a closer watch on the Kastorick’s house on Maple Street.
“Car 930 was out of the car for a few minutes, any traffic Frankfort Central?” Our little town of Frankfort MO. was a small town. A population of about 2500 and it was considered to be the richest village in the entire state. We kept very busy just trying to protect our citizens from the bad guys who would come out from the bigger towns and cities and break into their homes taking jewelry, monies and other items. I personally wrote down a lot of license plate numbers and made stops on any of them that were from the bigger cities, such as St. Louis. Sometimes it paid off but most of the time it only scared them away until another time. “Car 903 there was no traffic for you.” “903 is 10-4, thanks Central.”
I discussed the stop on Jason with some of the other officers in the next week or so. I asked them to keep an eye on the Kastorick’s and to note the license plate numbers that were parked there during the evening hours. Freddy Kastorick was a jock at New Trail High School and was very popular. There were a lot of kids that would hang around his house almost every night. The Kastorick’s carried a lot of weight in our town, including the other towns north and south that butted up to ours. However, being a rebel that I was, I still kept an eye out for the kids that parked there and took down license numbers for my own information.
I saw Jason on a few occasions afterwards and he always would pull over parking his car and walk back to mine to say hello. One day in particular he stopped and visited with me for a few minutes. “Hello Officer David. I am sure glad that you set me straight. I have not been over to visit Freddy K., for quite a while now.” “Jason that is good news very good. I’m glad that you have chosen to straighten yourself out. I knew that you would.” He smiled and waved and walked back to his car and slowly drove away. I didn’t know it at that time but I would not be able to have a discussion with Jason ever again.
Days passed, and after a few weeks, one late Friday afternoon I spotted Jason as he drove past the police station, honking his horn and waving. Inside his vehicle were three or four other teenagers that I did not recognize. Of course I waved and gave him my usual ‘peace’ sign. It seems that during that time in history most people were giving the Nixon two fingers in the air signal as a peace sign.
As I patrolled throughout our village a few hours later I of course, drove past the Kastorick’s on Maple as I always did when I worked the night shift. I noticed that this evening there seemed to be an unusual amount of traffic around the home. I started taking down license numbers and making notes and then I saw it. Jason’s blue Chevy. It was parked on the corner just a few feet from the property line of the Kastorick house. “Shit!” I shouted out loud. What the hell was Jason doing? Apparently peer pressure had gotten the better of him and he was back at the ‘Jock’s’ house again. I could only imagine what was going on inside. My hands were tied. I could not just rush into the house and tell Jason to leave or anyone else for that matter, nor make an arrest. Not without a warrant and I did not have anything to obtain a warrant on, except a hunch. My hunches were usually always correct and tonight they were very strong with an added burning inside my gut.
I was so angry but I knew I could do nothing at this point. I tried to keep and eye out for Jason or any of the other kids when they may be leaving the residence. But there were other matters that interfered. I had received a few calls from police headquarters that I had to handle immediately. There were the usual dogs running at large calls, one of my most favorite complaints and a few loud parties in the village that had to be addressed. I had stopped a few traffic violators and such as well. It seemed that tonight was a little busier than usual. Perhaps that was why my gut was on fire.
At 11:40 p.m. a call came out over the police radio band.
“Briggs Units 440, 442 and 445 we have a report that a vehicle has just struck a tree in the curve on Hill Road just east of Indian Trail.” “I have dispatched The Briggs Rescue Unit.”
My heart sank. I knew without even seeing the vehicle that it was Jason. I quickly drove pass the Kastorick house and most of the vehicles that were parked there earlier, including Jason’s Chevy, were gone. “Oh Dear God please have mercy.” I said out loud as I drove towards the accident scene.
When I neared the scene I saw a Briggs Unit blocking the street a few blocks east of the accident. Knowing the officer, Joe Summs, I asked him if it was a blue Chevy and was Jason in the car. “Yes. He was alone and he is deceased.” I mentioned to Joe about the drinking that had been going on in our village and the talks that Jason and I had over the last month or so. He suggested that I start a case history regarding all of the things that I had seen and the discussions between Jason and myself and all of the facts regarding the Kastorick’s.
I had very little facts but did write a case file on what I had seen and my thoughts surrounding the accident that killed Jason. The case was placed in our files at our police station prior to my leaving for the night.
The next day when I started my shift I was informed that the case file had been turned over to Chief Larson of Briggs and for me to forget about it as if it never happened. I never heard anymore about it and the traffic at the Kastorick’s was much lighter than before and remained that way for almost a year. The case file was erased from our system as if it were never entered.
If I could of only handled it differently that night, and been able to stop Jason before he got into his car and drove into the tree killing himself. But it was not in the cards and I felt somewhat responsible for it happening.
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|Reviewed by Bebe
|Your a great story writer
Love to read
all of them,keep it up.
|Reviewed by Melissa Rives
|glad to see you are back...a very powerful story...so sad it ended that way.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|very well done!! sad, powerful write!!|
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|well done...... ;0)...molly|