This morning (early, early morning after the end of my shift) I was making the usual commute when something unusual happened: I helped get a drunk driver off the road.
In one section of my drive there’s about 1.5 miles of straight four-lane undivided street, which I know really, really well from driving twice a day every shift for three years. Tonight I noticed something odd: a car stopped in the road ahead, and that it was stopped in the oncoming lanes of traffic. As I rolled up, progressively decelerating, the car was stationary, with one or two cars passing the stopped car slowly, then speeding up.
As I came to a stop, next to but just a little behind the car I saw a man, chin on chest, breathing. ‘Well, there’s an interesting sight’, thought my inner monologue. Inner monologue continues: ‘I should honk the horn and see if he wakes up’. ‘Bad idea: if he’s drunk and passed out, he could wake up and drive away, and maybe hit somebody’. ‘OK, I’ll call the cops’. That took about 3 milliseconds. I think fast, if not always clearly.
"This is the Fort Worth 911 center. If this is an emergency, please stay on the line and your call will be answered". Heard that twice, then the 911 operator. "I am sitting next to a car stopped in oncoming traffic at (location). The driver looks like he’s either asleep or dead". (I was pretty sure he was alive, but not taking chances). I gave the cars’ license plate number.
There followed some questions about the location, asking for more details. I was rattled enough I forgot that if I pushed the GPS in my car it would have spit out a street address immediately. Lesson learned, but too late.
Another vehicle slows and passes the stopped car, oncoming, then drives off. Probably relieved someone else was there, like I would have been relieved and driven on had another car been there when I’d rolled up.
FW PD comes up, circles us, then stops to warn oncoming traffic, in front of the errant car. I then got out and approached. "I’m a doctor, but wasn’t going near him without some help" I said, and realized caution has become part of me. Not terribly macho, but maybe a good way to live a long life. A second officer arrives, and they took charge immediately. The first one to the car determines the driver isn’t going to awaken to a flashlight beam, reached in and put the car in park, and then turned off the engine and removed the keys.
Together they opened the car door, and started to pull the driver out, awakening him. There was a brief, purposeless struggle, and handcuffs were applied. The driver was then taken to a patrol car as EMS rolled up.
To say the EMS crew was surprised to see me there is a modest understatement (embarrassingly, they know my name but I don’t know theirs). The police and EMS had this well under control when I asked the nice officers if they needed anything from me, and they said no (which I thought odd; didn’t they need a statement or something?), so I got into my car and drove home, carefully.
I detest drunk drivers. I have to professionally care for them but I don’t like them. I’m more then a little glad this one is locked up.