Aug 17, 2010
Booze and Heights Don't Mix
Went to an autopsy today of a teenage kid. Any time you have a dead young person, there is a measure of pity for a life wasted, in spite of whatever circumstance (gunshot, suicide, stabbing, broken bottle, drowning, auto-erotic, car crash etc...) caused the death. But, all of that tragedy is sometimes covered by a thin layer of "Normalcy," which for cops means trying to be funny. Don't misunderstand- there is nothing funny about death, but often how WE (the living) deal with it is hilarious.
Saturday night. Very warm here in Yakima, and the young folk were out in force; dancing, making out and of course, drinking alcoholic beverages. Often times these same drunk kids climb into a car and try and drive home (or somewhere to find more dancing and/or alcohol). A young lady (drunk) had in the passenger seat a boy (also drunk) while driving down a local thoroughfare when said drunk girl "Loses control" of her car. Loses control??!? What does that really mean? Did she misplace her steering wheel? Drop her brake peddle in the toilet? So car smashes into center divider, fenders are crumpled, air bags are deployed and guy realizes that he probably wont "get lucky" tonight... After the crash, the driver is probably thinking what she will tell mom; passenger is probably only thinking about getting out of there before the cops come. So that's what he does; he gets out, runs to the side of the road and leaps over the guard rail.
The cops do come, they arrest little Miss .14 blood alcohol and place her in the county lock up.
Fast forward 6 hours. Elderly lady walking her dog along a canal bank sees a guy laying on the ground, a closer look (and a few licks from Fluffy) convinces her that the guy is dead, so she flips out her Jitterbug and calls 911.
The cops first arrive and instantly assume they have a homicide on their hands- this guy was obviously suffering some severe head trauma and had broken bones all over. Finally, a Detective arrives (my partner) and puzzles for a while, because he thinks that the injuries look nothing like an assault.
There was one late graveyard officer still working, who took the call before reporting in for the morning; he pointed up and casually commented to the detective,
"Funny, there was an accident right there last night."
Everyone then looked up at the road overpass to where he was pointing, 49 feet above the exact spot where the body lay.
Oops. As the saying goes: look before you leap, or maybe it should be: don't drink and jump.
Not a homicide, just another drinking related death. Sad.
Posted by Detective Dave (retired)