[Note to my readers: the following is an incident that occurred back in the winter of 1984. I neither condone the actions, attitudes or events herein. This is merely what happened, as a part of my life, especially the part which Christ redeemed me from… you can read part 1 here.]
I looked at James who was in the back seat with me and yelled at him to get Richard to stop. We were heading down Gaslight Boulevard at ridiculous speeds trying to outrun a Lufkin Police Officer in Richard’s 1966 Delta 88. I looked back and could see that the officer had made the turn and we were a good half mile out in front of him. That didn’t bring a lot of comfort and I really wanted Richard just to pull over and take it like a man. I shouted a few more times. He kept repeating the only words his brain could latch onto: “I just can’t!”
“James, do something!”
I looked at James with my latest appeal and he looked back at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “What am I supposed to do? He never listens to me.”
James looked…. calm. How could he be so calm? He looked perfectly at peace, as if somehow, he was comfortable with whatever fate we faced. How could that be? I’ve been in bad car wrecks before and from where I was sitting, it seemed like we were destined for another bad car wreck. Given that I had a healthy fear of rolling, and the fact that there were no seatbelts in Richard’s 1966 Delta 88, I decided to get down on the floorboard in case the car rolled in our attempted escape.
Just as I got down in the floor I noticed that the half-mile gap between us and the police officer no longer existed. He was right on our tail and we were speeding toward West Frank Avenue where Gaslight ended in a T. Richard would need to slow down if we were going to make the turn. He didn’t slow down. We didn’t make the turn.
He went right over the curb and the police officer did as well plowing into us. I thought for sure Richard would stop now.
He took off again, this time heading for the loop. I guess he thought if he could make the loop the great power of the 1966 Delta 88 would finally win the day. Only one problem to that. He had blown a back tire going over the curb. It wasn’t long before the tire was gone, sparks flying from the spare rim and Richard was forcing his big V-8 to pull us along at break neck speeds. He tried once again to make a turn going too fast. This time as he turned right onto the loop, the rim lost traction and we spun 180 degrees.
“OK, now will you stop?”
Of course not. He hit the gas again. Not only were we breaking speed limits every where, we were also running red lights and now going in the wrong direction in traffic. I was certain our end would be nothing short of a trip to the hospital in an ambulance, or to the morgue. Richard turned back onto Frank Avenue now heading east. O, and a few more problems. We were not being chased by just one cop. Every cop in the vicinity had descended upon us along with several State Troopers, which was really bad news. The State Troopers had just been awarded Ford Mustangs with turbo boosts. I remember reading about this in the newspaper.
As Richard hit a top speed of 50 m.p.h. heading up Frank, one of those State Troopers came up along side us in his brand new Ford Mustang with turbo boost and seemed to taunt us. It was as if he was saying, “Richard, where do you think you are going?” There had to be at least four State Troopers and six Lufkin Police cars involved at this point.
But somehow, Richard… still… thought… he could out run them!
Richard’s next and last evasive move was to try and head back up Gaslight Blvd. Maybe he thought that since he didn’t succeed the first time, he would try, try again.
Again, his tireless rim gave way as we made the turn. This time we spun 270 degrees around and went backwards up over the curb. It was at this point that all ten vehicles holding multiple officers of the law surrounded us, jumped out of their cars, with weapons pointed in our direction and demanded that we get out of the car and hit the dirt. They even knew that it was Richard driving because the lead officer said over his loud speaker “Richard, what the hell do you think you doing?”
With guns pulled, no place to go but into the dirt, suddenly Richard has a damn epiphany. He became Mr. Cooperative and started yelling at us to cooperate with the police officer. “What?” I think both James and Byron, or was it Dusty, told Richard to shut up in a quite profane and appropriate way. After all, where was his cooperation with the officers of the law 4 minutes prior to this moment? I have to admit, he had a lot of nerve telling us that.
We did hit the dirt and that is when I landed in the ant bed. Did I mention that they were fire ants? One rather doughy officer came over and told me to put my hands behind my back. When I did, he put his foot on my wrists. Apparently, he didn’t have a pair of hand cuffs to throw on me and I had to wait until one of the officers found another pair before they would pick me up off the ground.
About that time, I began to realize that there were fire ants on my neck and face.
“Officer? Could you please help? I have fire ants on my face.”
“I’m sorry, you will just have to wait there until we can get some cuffs on you.”
He seemed to delight in telling me that. I had to do something, so I wiggled to the right and began rubbing my face in the cool, wet grass. That seemed to help a little, but not much. The ants were still letting me know of their displeasure with me in interrupting their nightly sleep.
After what seemed like an eternity, the cops finally produced another pair of handcuffs. Once they got me up, I asked the officer to deal with the ants. He shined his flashlight in my face and said, “Yes, there do seem to be some ants on your face.”
“Sir,” I said in my most polite and submissive voice, “could you please brush them off.”
“I guess I could help a little.”
And a little help was all he did. He didn’t bother to get the ones on my neck and I didn’t get them off until I was sitting in the back of the police cruiser that was waiting to transport me to the police department. This didn’t happen until after the officers had tried to stuff me into the back seat of the car that held Richard, James and Byron… or Dusty. (Sorry, after thinking about this for a long time, I just can’t remember whether it was Dusty or Byron, but I do know that most of the times that I went out to party with Dusty and Byron, something like this happened. Not that they caused it, but… there seemed to be some mysterious correlation involved).
As they were trying to stuff me in the back seat with my three conspirators, Richard just kept playing Mr. Cooperative. It was annoying. He kept telling me to climb in and sit on my lap, and not to complain. O the anger that was boiling inside. Here I was about to go to jail because he was too stubborn to pull over and now he was telling me to just shut up and get in the car.
There was no way I was going that back seat. The four of us combined were too big. That is when the two officers in charge of the case decided to stick me in the back seat of my favorite police officer, Officer Doughboy. The guy who didn’t mind that fire ants were camping out on my face.
Turns out, Officer Doughboy was one of those officers that loved the power the badge and gun gave him. He gave me a stern lecture on everything that was going to happen to me once we got to the police station. He told me they were going to book me on drunk in public and a host of other crimes. He also realized I was in the military and told me that they would be contacting my commanding officer to make sure I was brought up on charges back at my base. Yup. I was going off to the Big House as far as this officer was concerned. He really reminded me of the rich, fat kid I knew in grade school that made sure we always had to play by his rules or he would take his play things and go home. Now he was all grown up and someone made the mistake of giving him a badge… and a gun. That was a mistake.
We finally arrived at the police station in silence. Officer Doughboy led me inside where I found Richards, James and Dusty/Byron along with the two officer in charge.
“Do you want me to book this one for you?” Officer Doughboy asked the officer in charge.
“Nope,” he said. “We are going to let these three go. They didn’t do anything.”
Apparently when the officers were heading to the station with Richard, James and Dusty/Byron in the back seat, it was deadly silent. None of them spoke. Then the first officer turned to the second officer and said, “Did you get all those turns for the report?”
It was too much. All five busted out laughing. Out of all that happened, no one had been hurt. In fact, the officers couldn’t seem to find a dent in their police car from the collision we had with them. Given that, and the fact that the officers couldn’t document every turn and violation Richard committed, they decided to just book him with a DWI. The rest of us were free to go.
Wow! Free to go! I was free to go! This was really good news. Dusty/Byron and I hit the door. We wanted nothing more to do with the police that night.
Which is why I refused a ride from Dusty/Byron. He said his care was only a few blocks from the station and he would gladly give me a ride home. Hhm? Hadn’t he been drinking just as much as Richard?
I passed and decided to walk home. It was a really long walk home, but I cherished every moment of my freedom. I would sleep in my own bed that night and not face any long term repercussions. No jail cell for me. And fortunately, this happened long before the dash cam, otherwise we would have ended up on Youtube all over the nation.
As for Richard, he had to do community projects and pay a fine. Turns out that the cops really enjoyed the excitement. That is why they were so easy on us. I can’t help but think that they were having a blast chasing Richard in his 1966 Delta 88. The entire time we thought we were going to get away, they were thinking: “We’ve got ya now!” And they did.