Four-by-Four Roll Over
A true story..
I saw the jeep approaching from two-blocks away and it seemed to be going just a little too fast. I was sitting parked a few feet west of the train tracks in the Chicago Northwestern parking lot, working on a few case reports. I reached down and picked up my handheld radar gun and pointed it towards the vehicle to check the speed. He was going about seven or eight miles over the posted limit. That was really not too fast and I would have not even bothered with him, except that he was driving a jeep, and going into a curve that went first to the right and sharply back to the left, before straitening out again.
A normal vehicle, that is to say, one with a lower height of gravity, would have taken the curve without any problems. The driver almost loss it as the right front wheel actually came up off of the ground as he made the curve and continued southward into the next village.
I pulled out onto the street turning on my red lights and fell in behind the jeep in very short order. After seeing my lights he pulled to the curb and stopped. He bounced out of his jeep and quickly walked back to meet me as I stepped out of my squad. He was a local lad named Bull Turner and I knew him from a stop I had made only a few days ago after seeing him driving in the area of the high school, when he should have been in class. So we were not strangers, not in the least.
“Hello Officer Fullington, how are you?” “Hey citizen Turner.” The kid was always very polite when he was stopped and questioned by someone of authority even at the high school he acted the same way towards his teachers.
I really didn’t buy into this nice guy routine, but hey, you never know. I was just a little leery of Bill. He was way too smooth and that made me suspicious of him. He was trying to hide something, of that I was sure.
“What’s up?” He asked as I walked towards the jeep. He was walking backwards in front of me, and I got the feeling that he did not want me to see inside his vehicle.
“Well first of all you took that corner a little too fast, causing the front end of your car to raise up off of the ground. Is there anyone else inside?” I knew that he was the only one and I just used that rouge to get to the vehicle.
“Nope. Just dropped off my girl and I was on the way home, Officer Fullington.”
“Well what do we have here?” I had walked up to his open top jeep ( convertible ) and after seeing in plain sight a six-pack, or what was left of a six-pack sitting on the right front passenger seat, asked him the question.
“I only had one beer, my girlfriend drank the other three.” How many times had I heard someone tell me that they only had one beer, or one drink when they were asked? More than I can remember.
“Bill I can not allow you to drive your vehicle after finding the beer inside and observing your driving tonight. I will arrange a ride for you to get you home.” Bill only lived five or six blocks away and after seeing him in the condition of possible intoxication, I had to make a decision. I could arrest him, which would be a hassle. Or I could get him home safely and in one piece. I chose the latter.
“Am I busted?” “No not this time Bill. Consider this your one and only warning. If I see you stepping out of line again, there will be no questions. I pulled his jeep into the parking lot, turned off the engine and placed his keys inside my shirt pocket.
When we arrived at his residence I told him that when driving a jeep, it is not very safe to take a corner as fast as he had tonight. “The main thing that you should be aware of is not to move the steering wheel back and forth in quick and jerking motions. That can get someone killed as the jeeps, and other vehicles that are built like that aren't very stable when cornering.”
I handed him his keys and bid him good night. “Do not come back for your vehicle tonight. I will place a special watch on it for you with the other guys.” “But what about my beer?” I explained to him that he was too young to drink or have possession of the beer and that I was going to get rid of it for him.”
“Remember Bill, slow down, otherwise the next time you may not be so lucky.”
“Night Officer Fullington, and thank you sir!” “Yeah, kid. Take er easy!”
That should have been the end of the story but it wasn’t. A month or so later I had changed shifts and was working the midnight to eight. Sometimes it’s slow and then again it can get rather busy. It just depends on what you run into during your tour of duty.
A local police dispatch;
“Winnetka Units. There is a report of a vehicle that has rolled over and is lying on its top on Golf Course Lane in the 800 block.” “Winnetka 444 is 10-4.” “Winnetka 440 is 10-4.”
Winnetka was the village north of Kenilworth, and Kenilworth being my beat, we had the same radio frequency. We would often respond to back up each other when a call would come out, especially one of a possible injury. They had not called it as an injury type accident, but my gut told me that it was and even who it was.
“Kenilworth 602 will be responding to that call as well Winnetka.” “10-4 602.”
“Units responding to the roll over, I have just been informed that there is someone pinned under the vehicle and I have dispatched Winnetka Fire Rescue to the scene.”
“Oh boy here we go. Bill has really done it this time. I sure hope he is okay.” I have a habit of talking to myself during this type of a case and I quiet often say little short prayers for people. When I arrived on the scene Winnetka already had a squad there. I was surprised to see Bill standing in front of his jeep. Well I was right about the gut feeling, it was his vehicle. There was a young man about the same age as Bill that was pinned under the vehicle. When the jeep flipped from Bill making a sharp turn, the passenger was trapped in the bed area just behind the front seats. Bill had been thrown clear,out and into the wet grass just off to the right of the blacktop lane that ran around the golf course.
Winnetka Rescue arrived and was able to free the trapped passenger by raising the vehicle with jacks. They placed him on a board in order to transport. They knew that he had injuries, but were unsure how badly he may be hurt.
Bill saw me as I assisted with the rescue. He could not look me in the eye. After the rescue left the scene, I walked over to Bill and asked him what happened, how did the jeep flip? “It was just like you had said to me. I came around the corner, it started to slid due to the wet road and I whipped it back and it just flipped over.”
Bill had lucked out again, due to his accident being in Cook County and outside of either of the villages that any of the officers there were assigned. Oh if it were of a serious nature such as a felony, then yes of course, either one of us would have arrested him.
The passenger, a sixteen year old, had broken both of his legs, his collarbone and his left wrist. None of the injuries were of a life threatening nature. Before Bill left the scene, both Winnetka and I gave him a good talking to. If he even looked like he was going to do something stupid he was going to get busted.
Bill got a wake up call that night. He turned out to be a pretty good guy. Matter of fact he is now working as a member of a local fire department very close to where he had almost seriously injured one of his best friends.
© James Samdavid1 Fullington
April 19, 2002
Names and addresses have been changed to protect the stupid.
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|Reviewed by Ryszard
|Oh, it seems that you were a little too soft cop, James!!!!|
|Reviewed by Melissa Rives
|What a heart-warming story after all. I'm glad it turned out well and what a great cop you were and a wonderful good-hearted person!|