Another “insensitive” police officer stops a citizen speeding to the hospital.
A Roswell, Georgia police officer stopped a driver for speeding, 44 in a 25 mph zone. Well within my own criteria for stopping speeders. The driver had his wife in the vehicle and claimed she was having chest pains and further explained she was a breast cancer victim. (NEWS Story here) They also said they didn’t have the proper insurance to call an ambulance.
Fortunately, the officer’s vehicle was equipped with a video and audio recording device, recording the stop. The couple can be heard berating the officer for his insensitivity and even offering to show the officer her breast instead of signing the ticket and leaving.
The officer, upon hearing of the alleged medical dilemma, called for an ambulance and continued writing the ticket.
All the training I received as an officer didn’t give me the ability or the right to diagnose anyone that I stopped. I cannot count the times that someone has advised me that there was a medical problem and they were enroute to the hospital. When I asked if they needed an ambulance, the answer was almost always “No”. And if they wanted me to call an ambulance, they would never go with them, wasting the emergency personnel’s time from arriving on a real emergency.
The media plays the story as the officer should have a heart and maybe escort the driver to the hospital or give them a warning.
Many of these stories relay that the driver(s) were stopped doing in excess of 100 mph while enroute to the hospital. Sometimes the medical emergency is apparent when the officer walks up to the car, sometimes not. Sometimes, they don’t bother stopping for the police who are behind them, trying to stop them.
Why not let the driver take the “patient” to the hospital?
They’ve already exhibited a lack of attention to the posted speed limit, which was imposed to the conditions for that particular roadway and the safety of all the drivers and public thereof. At 100 mph, it would take a vehicle approximately 700 feet to stop after perceiving a threat, reacting and implementing the mechanisms of stopping the vehicle. How many pedestrians could be plowed through or cars or buildings smashed into in 700 feet? Do you think that if they had such a wanton disregard for the law, that they would have a disregard for you and your family? If they forced you off the road or collided with you, would they have stopped? They didn’t stop for the police.
Now who’s insensitive?
Not many people get to go through high speed training like the police or race car drivers. (insert evoc pix here) Even police departments have restricted their officers from speeding, even in training, as they attempt to conduct their day-to-day duties. The training involves liability training as well as hands-on in a controlled skid pad or speedway.
Nevada law requires that drivers, upon seeing the red lights and hearing the siren, (insert police car pix here) pull over to the RIGHT side of the roadway (NRS 484B.267) and wait until the emergency vehicle passes or pulls in behind them. It further states that if you refuse to stop, depending on how you are driving, you could be charged with a felony (484B.550) if you drive recklessly (remember 700 feet stopping distance?) or endanger the public (including your family) or worse. Nowhere does it say that there is a provision to wave at the officer and continue on your way.
Then there is the “medical emergency”.
99% of the population has a cell phone. 911 requires pushing 4 buttons on the phone. You may not be the person I want to be working on me when I have a critical incident. Medical response is usually quick and brings qualified medical personnel and equipment to your location (insert paramedics pix here). If you are in the vehicle when the medical episode happens, you should still call 911 and drive in a reasonable manner while you speak with the 911 operator. They are trained to ask the appropriate questions regarding the medical emergency and offer advice. They may tell you to pull over and wait for the ambulance and medical personnel to meet you.
In my personal experience, I said I did have the occasion to stop people enroute to the hospital. I usually could tell if it was a real emergency (the gal with the pillow sticking out from under her shirt was not having a baby) and could deal with it promptly.
One gal was definitely having an issue with a recent “acid peel” on her face, (it was still peeling and blistering while I looked at her) and we were only about two blocks away from the hospital, so I allowed her to drive to the hospital after a warning to slow down. She was doing 15 mph over the limit. Could I have written the ticket? Sure. Would it been worth it? No. She pulled over. She had proof of insurance, registration and a driver’s license. She wasn’t doing 100 mph. If I had waited for her to get cleared from the hospital, I could’ve waited hours for that one ticket.
There are numerous stories about the same situations and the media’s twist on it. Most are a misdirected look at who is “in the wrong”, whether morally or lawfully.
So next time you see a story about an officer stopping someone for speeding to the hospital for a medical “emergency”, look a little deeper and put yourself in the officer’s shoes. What would you say if you saw a car driving recklessly and an officer stopped him and then let them go to continue driving like a maniac? Then watch that same vehicle plow into a crowd of people.
What would be the top news story of the day then? I’m sure there would be an attorney involved.
Oh yeah. Where are those attorneys for these people crying about being stopped by the police while trying to get to the hospital?