Monday, December 22, 2008

What do you suppose is news worthy?

A high speed chase after a bank robbery? A body lying on the side of the road, close to death, hit late at night and left to die? Neither, from what I've seen.

It was the a football Saturday. The Saturday night before Halloween. It was fat, the money was real good that night, Bucky won and clinched the first Rose Bowl bid since the '60's. I was driving home around 3:45am, and at the intersection of John Nolan and Olin, I passed what looked like a guy sleeping on the shoulder of the road. I said to myself, it had to be a Halloween prank, it was way to cold for anybody to be sleeping on the shoulder of the road, he'd be freezing. I got down to my turn onto Rimrock, and I had to go back for a second look, that guy just looked too real.

John Nolan was tore up at the time, so it wasn't a divided boulevard like it normally is. My first reaction was to pull up with the head lamps on the guy, get out, and take a close look. Then I said to myself, wait a minute, what happens if he jumps up pointing a gun at me and says he wants my wallet and keys, thank you very much? I just won't take the chance, so I slowly pulled up on the shoulder on the wrong side of the road. I noticed a red stripe down the center of his head, as if the skin had been split and pulled apart 1/2" or so, yeah that's real, and he's either dead or close to it. I got out of my car and walked up to the body, it was quivering ever so slightly, so he was still alive. I looked immediately at his feet, no shoes. He was a pedestrian who'd been hit by a car, knocked out of his shoes. I found his shoes 50 feet away.

There wasn't much traffic but I was trying to stop every car that passed. The ones that did stop, I asked if they had a cell phone, if memory serves, it was the sixth car that had a cell phone and called the cops. The lady who called the cops told me they said they were coming, and she took off down the causeway toward downtown. It didn't take long for the first squad to arrive, and an ambulance came pretty quick too. Within 20 minutes there were dozens of squads, they had John Nolan closed from North Shore to Rim Rock, and there were scores of cops out with flashlights looking for what ever they look for.

The cops went through the immediate stuff with me, did I hit the guy? No. Take a look at my car, no I didn't hit him, who ever hit him hit him hard, look at how far away from the body the shoes are. Then they looked at the car a little, looked into my eyes to see if I'd been drinking, and thank god I hadn't had a barley pop after work. The guy got scooped up pretty quick and was gone, they let me go after around 30-40 minutes.

I watched the news the following day, no mention of the fellow who I was sure was going to die. 2 days later, when I started driving to work, I passed a Sheriff's squad that looked like he was working radar about 4 blocks from where I lived. The only problem with this was, I lived on Sandhill road out in the boonies, NE of Oregon. Why would a cop be working radar on a road that only had perhaps 5 cars pass per hour? He wouldn't, but if he was staking me out, because he wanted a second look at my car in the daylight, it might make sense to sit there. He pulled me over, immediately, saying he needed to cite me for not wearing my seat belt. He got his look, gave me the 10 dollar ticket with no points, and I was off on my way. Let no good deed go unpunished.

I kept watching the news, and listening to the news on the radio. I looked at local paper everyday for a week, and there was no mention of that fellow, none what so ever. After another week, I stopped a cop on State st. and asked if she was familiar with the victim I'd found, she said she was. Note, this is now 2 weeks after the guy got hit and left to die. She said, he had indeed died that night. She went on to tell me that the person who did it went to the Sheridan (corner of Rimrock and John Nolan), and used the phone to inform the police that he'd hit a pedestrian, and it had been ruled a legitimate accident. What?????? If that's the case why was it that I needed to call the cops, why did they want first and second looks at my car. Then I called the news director at the local ABC affiliate, and the guy actually talked to me. I asked him if he was familiar with the accident and death, he said he was. Well, why isn't it on the news???? His reply shocked me, he said it wasn't news worthy.

News worthy? Vehicular homicide isn't news worthy? Since when? If I killed a pedestrian, it would be news worthy. Indeed, not only did the ABC affiliate chose to not cover it, every radio station and every news paper chose to not cover it either. At this point, I guess I should share one small detail that I haven't yet included, the guy who got killed was probably an itinerant who was camping in the woods behind the Sheridan. Guess his life wasn't worth much.

A story that did get covered in the news, but could have been a REALLY BIG story was a high speed chase that went past me one afternoon. I was pulling up to the light a the corner of Schroeder rd. and Gammon, when this car went flying past me with a cop hot on his tail. They both went past in the oncoming side of the street, and ran the red light, narrowly missing a major collision. I watched as the guy tried to do a power slide turn on to New Washburn, and miss it, he crashed into the median, and the cop was out of the squad with a gun drawn in an instant.

Hmmm, interesting. I had a delivery to make and one to pick, so I didn't have time to rubber neck this fracas, and continued past the cop with the gun on my way south on Gammon rd. When I got to Raymond rd., what should I see but a mobile recording truck for one of the local TV stations. I don't know what they were doing, but what ever it was, they were mostly just milling around. I pulled up and told them that if they were interested in a high speed chase and accident, they could take pictures of it at the corner of Gammon and New Washburn. They didn't bother, I mean who cares what a cab driver in a cab says, right?

The accident they didn't cover was the end of a high speed chase following a bank holdup. That cop caught that bank robber.

1 comment:

Gilighan Qabista said...

I'm sorry you had to go through all that. This poor pedestrian's fate might not have made the news, but it certainly hasn't been forgotten. Big media isn't the only media. Our blogs are an excellent form of independent media. Every life has worth, even that of a hobo. My love of geography compelled me to look up all the streets you mentioned on the map that Google provides. It gave me a better sense of orientation in regards to Wisconsin's capital city. It's really funny how everything stems out of the state capitol building in the narrow isthmus between the lakes. And it looks like you live right on the edge of town, just outside the belt. Interesting. Like I said, geography is my main obsession in life. Hope you're not too disturbed mentally by what you saw on that road.