Jan 28, 2007

One Night on a Dimly-Lit Street

(Toledo, OH) I first noticed the car in front of my house about eleven o'clock. It was idling in the middle of the street with its lights on, and at first I thought it might be one of my teens getting dropped off by a friend.

After a few minutes, and with the car still sitting there, I threw my coat on to go investigate.

In the front seat was a white male, about 30 years of age, sleeping behind the wheel. He managed to put the car into park before nodding off in the middle of the road. The window was down, and I tried to shake him, but he was out cold.

I called 911 and reported the car and its somnolent driver. First on the scene was the fire department, whose first move was to turn off the car and take away the keys.

I hadn't thought of that.

They then rousted the man as the police pulled up. After a few minutes of the perfunctory drunk tests, the responding officer cuffed the man and put him in the back of the cruiser. A few minutes later a tow truck came and hauled away the man's car.

The man was clearly under the influence of something, and anyone who could sleep as soundly as this person was in no condition to drive. I resisted the urge to plaster the man's face and license plate on my blog, opting instead for a few blurry shots of the emergency vehicles blocking my driveway.

Asleep. Behind the wheel. In the middle of the road.

I have thought about this guy a few times in the past two days, like why he chose the area in front of my house to make his abrupt stop, and how he could have been so wasted to actually sleep while in the act of driving. I suppose the fact that he got busted before he could have killed someone is a positive note, but I couldn't help but feel an initial twinge of guilt at turning him in.

That quickly passed, though. People that intoxicated behind the wheel of a car are more than a menace - they are tragedies waiting to happen.


Anonymous said...

You did the right thing, Mike.

Did a pile of beer cans fall out when the dipshit got arrested?


Lisa Renee said...

I can see your concern but imagine how you would have felt had he woken up and then drove off only to hit someone. You did the right thing, it's not your fault if it turns out it was drug or alcohol related.

microdot said...

If he had been merely asleep, perhaps he could have been left alone. With motor running, it's an entirely different story, he was a danger to others and himself..
The police intervened and if he was drunk, stoned or there was a medical problem, that's their job to decide and deal with. I would have certainly sone the same thing!

Mark said...

Weird...and sad.

historymike said...

Yes, a weird tale, Mark. The moment of guilt for me was seeing the cuffed man get stuffed in the back of the car.

That passed as I thought about the possible outcomes of my taking no action.

But why my house? Was this divine intervention - God knowing that I am one to poke my nose, while others in my neighborhood might have ignored the car?

Or was it just sheer coincidence?

Had I not been my curious self, the guy might have awoke and drove away in his inebriated state, smashing his car into that of a family returning from a trip.

It's strange how so many destinies can hinge on one moment.

Then again, maybe he only lives a block or two away, got confused in his intoxicated state, and would have eventually wound up OK.

You never really know...

The Screaming Nutcase said...

I'm proud of you for trying to wake the guy up before calling 911--I can't tell you how many times I've been dispatched to a "person slumped over the wheel of a car," only to have the person awake and fine before I get on scene. Frustrating. Thank you, though. :)

Hooda Thunkit said...


You know that you did the right thing.

The only other thing that you could have done was to take the keys and maybe throw them under the car or just keep them until he came looking for them.

Either way the impaired driver would have escaped the justice that he really needed to experience. . .