ROAD RANTS

A concerned citizen chases down a driver gone rogue, with prayer backup

2013-06-29T00:00:00Z A concerned citizen chases down a driver gone rogue, with prayer backupBy Ben Brickman AUTO OUTRAGE CONTRIBUTOR nwitimes.com
June 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I have enjoyed reading the responses sent in by you, our roving reporters. This space is all about being your bulletin board and a public service. Some of your comments are short, some insightful and some more akin to "War and Peace." Either way we can hopefully get a few laughs out of it as we muse about how ridiculous driving around in traffic can be. Case in point, Jon wrote in to describe what he witnessed. (This rant has been edited for grammar and punctuation.)

Rant 1: “So I am driving East on 63rd Avenue in Griffith, and I come to a four-way stop and I stop like a normal person. I saw this small, older-model, purple compact car blast through the four-way stop, then make this insane turn left — going so fast that the car overshot the entire intersection — then drove straight through someone's yard, clipped a very large rock, knocked over a mailbox, got back on the road and crossed over into oncoming traffic. Two vehicles had to swerve way off the road to avoid the car. (I give big-time props to those two drivers for their quick reflexes!) I thought I was about to witness a headon collision for sure! But then the car gets back into the correct lane, and I watch as it blows through two more stop signs, nearly causing two more accidents. The driver must have been going at least 60 to 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. I decided at this time that I had to do something. This was so dangerous! There were kids out, people walking on the sidewalks; it was a ticking time bomb. So, I decided to follow the car. I drove as fast as I could while still being safe, to try and catch up. It was almost impossible. I barely had the car still in sight, when I picked up my phone and called 9-1-1, and this is where my real rant begins!

“ The 9-1-1 operator picks up, 'Gary 9-1-1, what is your emergency?' I then explain what is going on and she says to me, "Sir, that is Merrillville's jurisdiction, let me transfer you", and I somehow get transferred to the Lake County Jail automated system! Incredible, right? Oh! It gets worse! I hang up — keep in mind I am still trying to keep up with the car — and dial 9-1-1 again, this time I get, 'Merrillville 9-1-1, what is the emergency?' I again explain what is going on and the person says, 'This is Gary jurisdiction!' I could not believe what I was hearing! Then the person says, 'Let me transfer you,' and I interrupted and said (maybe screamed), 'Don’t you understand? This is an emergency! This driver is going to kill someone!' And once I said that, the dispatcher realized that this was all being recorded and said, 'OK Sir, stay on the line. We are going to get this figured out.'

“The driver is now coming up to 53rd and Broadway and I'm on the phone with 9-1-1. The car cuts straight through the southwest corner gas station, coming within inches of the bus stop. (Luckily there was no one waiting at the bus stop at the time). I gave the car's location to dispatch. The driver, who is still tearing up the road, hits a huge pothole (doesn't faze the driver), and essentially jumps the railroad tracks just north of Merrillville High School. The car then crosses two lanes sharply, cutting off two other cars, and gets into the turn lane. The driver is now approaching 61st and Broadway and luckily, there was a large truck there that blocked its path. So now, I am directly behind the car, close enough to see the license plate (which expired in February) and I'm now able to relay the plate number to the dispatcher.

“So the light turns green, the truck moves, and off the car goes. Tearing down 61st, driving just as insane as before and if that's not bad enough, I notice the driver is on the phone. We go through the light at 61st and Harrison and come up on a school. This was right around 3:30 p.m., so summer classes could have been letting out. Finally, I catch one final break, a red light where 61st and Taft come together. I am now right behind the car and I give the dispatcher all the information I can. The driver is about to turn left (south) onto Taft. The dispatcher then tells me, "Sir, I strongly suggest that you stop following her" and I was like, "OK! If you say so!" So the light turns green, I have no choice but to follow and I just make a U-turn. But maybe God was watching out for me on this one, because as soon as I turned, the gates went down as a train started to come through, blocking the car's path! It was great! Turning back around toward my original direction. I finally see a Merrillville police officer with his lights on, heading in the direction of the car. I pray that the police officer was going after that car and driver!

“I constantly read about how cops want you to call 9-1-1 if you see someone driving in a suspicious manner. So I did! I was trying to keep this crazy person who is driving a moving bomb with no regard for anything including him or herself from killing someone. And while I'm trying to do this, I am getting the run-around from 9-1-1! What is this? In fact, I passed not one, but two signs that said to report suspicious driving just prior to this event. The irony is just incredible.”

To that Jon, I am glad it all worked out, and everyone was spared being injured or worse. Hopefully, God heard your prayers and the police took the crazy driver off the streets.

It’s Audience Participation Time...Have a Dimwit Driver Alert? Have an idea for our bumper stickers Great! Send it to: RoadRants@nwi.com. You can also call in your rants at 219-933-1010. Leave your message. Include all the details. We will work it into the paper. We are also on Facebook, NWI Road Rants. Until next time, be safe. No one else is.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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