Friday, October 22, 2010
At the last General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Elder Arnold spoke about staying within boundaries of the commandments. He related an experience his wife had. “One day she found one of her father’s cows outside their fenced pasture eating wheat instead of grass. She thought, ‘You stupid cow! That fence was there to protect you, yet you broke through it and you have eaten so much wheat that your life is in danger.’ She raced back to the farmhouse to get her dad. However, when they returned, they found the cow lying dead on the ground. She was saddened by the loss of that cow. They had provided her with a beautiful mountain pasture to graze in and a fence to keep her away from the dangerous wheat, yet she foolishly broke through the fence and caused her own death.”
This police story is about a motorcycle rider that pushed his boundaries, got outside of the traffic laws then had to pay a big price, fortunately it was not his life. It was the day before Halloween and the twilight hours had passed into the night when Satan’s minions would be loose and wreaking havoc as he rules the darkest of the night.
I was working the 6 PM to 4 AM shift. This was the busiest shift in the city and considered a fast paced hard working cop’s shift. Working a lower Southeast neighborhood I would usually arrest someone and be on my way to jail within the first couple of hours.
About 10 PM I was approaching a four way stop that had a business on each corner. One corner had a convenience store that specialized in selling junk food and vices like junk liquor and tobacco products. Racing out of this parking lot was a young man on a Ninja motorcycle with a female passenger that was not wearing a helmet. The law states operators and passengers must wear helmets. The young man operating this bike had just offered the young woman a thrill ride around the block. She took him up on his offer and had hopped on the bike. This was the first time she had met this young man.
He was showing off for her by burning rubber in an exhibition of power as he raced out of the parking lot onto the public street. It was just then he made a quick glance over his shoulder to look for oncoming traffic and he saw me watching him. He hesitated by decelerating briefly but then took off at break neck speed. There is no way a patrol car can keep up with a Ninja bike unless the operator doesn’t know how to control the power he is sitting on, which this young man didn’t. Additionally, I noticed his passenger lacked the skill to lean into turns so I knew I might have a chance of keeping up with them.
He quickly outpaced me as I turned on my emergency equipment and raced after him. We went several blocks before he turned onto a major street and it was then I knew the passenger was a real liability for this motorcycle operator. The motorcycle danced back and forth in the traffic lane several times as he wrestled with the bike to maintain control. He now realized he was not going to be able to out maneuver me with his new found passenger so he took off as fast as he could accelerate. He reached very dangerous speeds in this residential neighborhood. As he made a turn he could see I was falling behind.
By the time I made the turn, he had made another turn and shut off his lights so he was ghosting in the dark down a residential street. I couldn’t see him but I knew he had turned on one of three streets. I quickly had to estimate how far ahead of me he would have been and then made a calculated guess that he had gone down the middle of the three streets. As I turned the corner, I could barely see his outline in the glare of porch lights as he raced ahead of me without his lights.
When he saw I was still following him, he tried again to outfox me by making two more quick turns with his lights still off. He shut off his engine and was coasting down a sidewalk. I had shut off my siren and rolled down my windows to listen for his motor whining in an effort to locate him. I could barely see something moving on the sidewalk about ¾ of a block ahead of me. It was the Ninja rider and when he saw me he quickly turned into a driveway to try to and hide behind a van. He was going too fast as he made the turn into the driveway, hit the garage door and threw himself and his passenger off the bike. He didn’t want to brake because he knew I would see his taillight come on.
I pulled into the driveway to block any attempt to escape and when I got out of my patrol car I could see him lying on the ground just under a house window while he was trying to shake off the effects of the impact. He was disoriented, so I quickly took advantage of his confusion and handcuffed him.
In the process of handcuffing him the homeowner opened a double hung window just above us. The window was decorated with a cut out colored paper pumpkin and other Halloween decorations. I looked up, smiled, and said, “Trick or Treat”. The home owner opened the window and said, “Wow that was some kind of trick!” He then offered me a treat and I took it saying thanks. I put the small candy bar in my shirt pocket to eat on the drive to jail.
The young woman was on the ground moaning from her minor injuries. I knew this wasn’t her idea of a thrill ride. She was furious with this young man. When she got herself somewhat composed she called him several vulgar names.
I called her parents and her father arrived quickly. He inquired if the young man could be charged for endangering his daughter’s life. I assured him he could be and that I would write my report allowing the father to sign a complaint. This case was sent to the District Attorney. The father signed the complaint and the young man lost his driver license, lost his motorcycle endorsement (license), had to perform many hours of community service, had to pay for all of the young woman’s medical bills, and had to pay for her ruined clothing. He also had to pay a court fine and replace the homeowner’s garage door. Additionally, he was placed on criminal probation.
A person may get away if running from the police, then again, that person may pay big time if caught, and this young man got caught.
Elder Arnold tells us that we all need to stay within the boundaries the Lord has set and one of those boundaries is obeying and sustaining the laws of the land. (12th Article of Faith)
I know we will all find safety within the fenced boundaries of the Lord’s commandments and the laws of the land. To learn more about living with the Lord’s boundaries see Elder Arnold’s talk.
Posted by Elder Watts at 3:41 PM