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[icon] White knuckle drive - Patti
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Subject:White knuckle drive
Time:06:15 am
Last night I drove home from San Diego, leaving around 3 p.m., stopping in Irvine for a few hours, and then arriving home at around 4:15 a.m. Most of the drive was peaceful and pleasant, but the last hour involved multiple calls to 911.

After I crossed the Altamont pass, just before entering Livermore, I noticed that a car in front of me was driving quite erratically, continually swerving halfway into the next lane before correcting and getting back into his own, then repeating the process in the opposite direction. I followed him at a distance for a couple of minutes to verify that this wasn't just a blip, then grabbed my phone and called 911. I gave the CHP the information I had-- black sedan, just before the Tassajara Road exit, no I can't get his plate but if the patrol car spots a PT Cruiser convertible I can point out the offending car.

I followed him, keeping my distance, as we entered a construction zone with traffic down to two lanes and Jersey barriers against the edge of the left lane. "This can't possibly go well", I thought, but somehow he managed to avoid making a mess.

Luckily the roads were mostly empty at this hour. I didn't want to risk passing him, so I stayed behind him at a safe distance and kept a very close eye on his behavior. For about 15 minutes I watched him bouncing between lanes, nearly hitting a few different cars, barely missing several medians, and constantly bouncing off the botts dots. I decided to get close enough to him that I could read his license plate number, and made a second call. This time I added the license plate number, 6NEY509 I believe, and new location information.

I kept watching my mirrors for flashing blue lights, or cars that looked like police cruisers, but no luck. As cars showed up behind me, I attempted to warn them of the dangerous driver ahead. They pretty much universally slowed down and either stayed behind him, or carefully passed him from two lanes away.

His speed was erratic-- he'd slow down to about 50mph, then speed up to 80, then drop down to 65. I maintained hope that he'd get pulled over, but no dice. We continued into Oakland. He was in the far left lane at the 980 split, so I had high hopes of losing him, but at the last minute he veered across three lanes of traffic, jumped a median (!), and swerved back and forth between lanes as he got onto the 980 connector. Dammit. I briefly considered making another 911 call, but I was almost home at this point. I took the ramp extra carefully, as it's a long swooping high-speed curve.

He got off the freeway at the 14th Street exit in Oakland, two exits before mine. I breathed a sigh of both relief and frustration when I saw that he was past the point of no return for the exit-- I was happy that he was no longer a factor for me, and that he would probably get home safely, but it was extremely annoying to realize that this fucking asshole was going to get away with endangering lives in this way.
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melebeth
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 01:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're safe. I'm sorry the police were so useless. I'm amazed that such a thing as a PT Cruiser Convertible exists!(I googled it, and they're ADORABLE.)
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 01:27 pm (UTC)
These chaps would disagree with you.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


melebeth
Subject:Bwahahahahahahaha
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 02:26 pm (UTC)
I love that show.
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 06:48 pm (UTC)
I'm disappointed you don't refer to yours as a "cabriolet".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 10:53 pm (UTC)
I should have named the car hemlock rather than The Carbeast.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


rmd
Subject:practical/tactical question...
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 01:51 pm (UTC)
I attempted to warn them of the dangerous driver ahead

how?
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Subject:Re: practical/tactical question...
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 10:40 pm (UTC)
Tap brake lights a few times. Point out window to the car ahead. Make a swerving gesture.

I had no idea how effective that would be, but it seemed to work at least a little bit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


njchick
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 03:15 pm (UTC)
Pretty scary first hand experience. Glad you are OK and did the right thing.
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brec
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 08:40 pm (UTC)
"Jersey barriers"
"botts dots"

Geez, the vocabulary you have on you.
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filthy_habit
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 10:16 pm (UTC)
I see a lot of that in Vegas. I always figure it's best to gun it to get around them and move on, though I've had a few close calls doing that. I'd rather have the damage behind me than in front of me.

Too bad about the unresponsive cops. I always wondered whether they actually respond to drivers calling in---not that a single incident would qualify as an adequate sample.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-21 10:40 pm (UTC)
A friend and I were coming home from Casino San Pablo around 15 years ago, driving across the bay bridge at 3 a.m. We saw a guy swerving so badly that he was taking up three full lanes. My friend handed me his phone, I dialed 911 and reported it. A black and white was glued to his tail within a mile, and we cheered as he got pulled off.

I've seen it other times, too. It just depends on how close a patrol car is.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


evwhore
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-22 02:04 am (UTC)
Hm, one night maybe 5-6 years ago on our way back from a Sharks game I think, we were driving up 880/580 towards Marin and followed an erratic driver. I called 911 to report it and followed from somewhere around Berkeley to somewhere around Richmond and never saw a cop.
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jcdill
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-22 04:23 am (UTC)
I reported a drunk on Hwy 1 northbound near Watsonville many years ago (1990s - I had a "bag phone" in my truck). He was going from 45 to way over 80, weaving all over the road, etc. I got his plate number when he was going slow, called it in. When he was going slow and straight I passed him in the far left lane and got out well ahead of him (in case he decided to go back into "speed back up" mode I wanted to be WELL away from him). Apparently a cop at the Freedom CHP station got on the freeway and pulled him over immediately. He blew a 2.x something, was hauled off to jail.

About 6 months later a DA or PD called me to ask me about my 911 call. I said I remembered the vehicle very well, small white pickup, swerving all over the road, speeding up and slowing down, etc. Apparently his attorney was trying to get the stop thrown out because the cop didn't follow him for "long enough" to establish his drunken driving behavior, but I convinced the DA/PD that it was extremely clear *to me* that he was drunk and that I relayed this to the 911 operator, and that I'd show up in court if they went to trial. So he took a plea bargain deal and I didn't have to go testify.
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byronium
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-06-27 11:29 pm (UTC)
That was the new Google Car.
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[icon] White knuckle drive - Patti
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