Yeah, I used “perp” in the title. Makes me feel like a New York Cop. Or perhaps I’ve seen too many episodes of NYPD Blue.
As if that were even possible. But, I digress.
In the none too recent past, I was sitting at a typical duck pond minding my own (and everyone else’s) business. I saw a vehicle across the street begin to pull out from parallel parking. The vehicle backed up. And backed up. it slowed, but continued to back up. Then the rear bumper hit the front bumper of the vehicle parked behind.
I saw the driver stop, look in her driver’s side mirror and then pull away.
She did not stop to check any potential damage.
She did not stop to leave a note.
You know…like the law requires.
Being the soul crushing traffic officer that I am, I made the decision the driver needed my attention. So off I went with my lights and siren to make her acquaintance.The mere fact that I had to make this traffic stop irritated me. What in the hell has become of society today that we no longer care about the property of others? I’m not saying the lady threw the car in reverse, smashed the gas and careened all haphazardly into the parked car behind her, but she did hit the damn thing.
Common courtesy would dictate one at least make a freaking effort to make sure things weren’t damaged even minimally. Not to mention, the vehicle code requires you to make an effort to notify the owner of the other vehicle of the incident. That can take the form of calling the police (or flagging down the motor officer across the freaking street) or simply leaving a note with your contact information and a kind word of apology. Something along the lines of “I’m sorry I’m a dumbass”.
This driver decided to do none of those things. Consequently, she was completely nonplussed at my pulling her over.
MC: “Ma’am, did you know you hit the car behind you when you were pulling out?”
Driver: “I just tapped it.”
MC: “Uh-huh. And then drove away.”
Driver: “There was no damage.”
MC: “And how would you know that, ma’am?! Did you get out of the car to look?”
Driver: “Well, no, but I have a backup camera.”
MC: “Fat lot of good that did you, huh? You realize you just committed a crime right? It’s a misdemeanor to leave the scene of a collision.”
Driver: “I didn’t know it was a misdemeanor.”
MC: “So, if it was, in your estimation, merely an infraction, you just…what…figured it was cool, then?”
Driver: “Well, no.”
MC: “License and registration.”
I walked back to the parked vehicle and noted there was indeed some damage, but I wasn’t convinced it was recent. I returned to the suspect car and saw a couple dings on the rear bumper, but, again, I wasn’t sure it was recent. I had the driver get out and pointed the damage out to her. She claimed they were old.
MC: “Tell you what, ma’am, instead of arresting you for misdemeanor hit and run, what do you say we do what you should have done in the first place? You’re going to write a note to the owner of the parked car. The note will contain your name and contact information and perhaps an apology just for the sake of courtesy. Isn’t that what you’d want if someone hit your car?”
Driver (deciding my suggestion was preferable to jail): “Well, yes.”
MC: “Well, fantastic then.”
She did indeed write the note and after she left, I put my business card with it.
Here’s the most ridiculous part of the story:
She called the sergeant to make sure I wasn’t lying!
That’s right…the scofflaw (overstated for the sake of exaggeration and my amusement) was making sure I wasn’t just making shit up to mess with her.
Of course, he confirmed that what she did was, in fact, a misdemeanor, and I was correct in advising her of what she needed to do to comply with the vehicle code…and common sense. When he explained it to her, her response was, “So, he wasn’t lying?”
I have less than four years left to subject myself to people like this, my friends.