Friday, July 06, 2007

Yeah, I call 911

I call it fairly often, actually. It’s not because I cover cops and crime, though. I drive a lot, and that means I see wrecks.

One time I was on I-49 between Lafayette and Alexandria on a rainy day and saw a pickup plunge into the ditch in the median between the north and south lanes of traffic. It looked kind of like an explosion because it was raining, and all I could see was tail lights sending two walls of water flying.

So I called 911 (and texted a reporter at The Advertiser in Lafayette, just in case).

Another time I was driving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge on I-10 when another vehicle nearly side-swiped me twice and almost took out a few other cars. We couldn’t even pass the guy because he was swerving so much. The driver seemed to be drunk or suffering from some medical problem – not fit to driver in either case – so I called 911 then, too.

Then there was the time a truck slammed into a light and electric pole outside The Times office building. First I yelled, “SSSAVVVVVVEEEEEE,” so no one would lose what they were working on. Then I called 911. A dispatcher asked how they could reach me, and I told them to let the police and fire departments know to look for the redheaded guy standing nearby.

My latest call was on the Fourth of July, and this time was a little different. I was in Baton Rouge on I-110 when traffic suddenly came to a halt. As my sister and I sat in my car hoping some other motorist didn’t slam into us, I saw there was a Buick sedan stalled and its occupants were pushing it.

Yep, you guessed it. I called 911. For some reason, though, the dispatcher could not hear me. I hung up and talked to another who forwarded my call to BRPD. I gave them a description of the vehicle and the nearest mile marker and we went on our merry way.

What I wasn’t expecting was a voice mail once I got off the phone with the police. The dispatcher who couldn’t hear me had called back, just in case. Now, I hope she talked with the call-taker who spoke with me, because I don’t want them to think I’m a prank caller. Not only is it irresponsible, but, you can get arrested for that.

It makes sense that they would follow up, I just wasn’t expecting it. It made me feel good.

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