Being a Police Officer is as close to being a Superhero as any mortal can become. I know — I was on the force for 20 years: Both fight crime and both come to the aid of people in need. But when the person in need is also the bad guy, what’s a crime-fighter to do? Here’s what happened one summer night, back in the day:
I was working with the Queens Task Force, when a call came in at approximately 1:30 A.M.: “Passengers trapped in an overturned vehicle on the westbound side of the Long Island Expressway.” My partner and I flew over to the location and spotted the wreck immediately.
A motorist who had witnessed the accident said the blue Corvette convertible blew past them at an excess of a 100 mph, lost control, and then flipped over in the air several times before landing on its row bar. Another witness pointed to a boy standing nearby and said, “That’s one of the passengers.”
The young man — who had been ejected from the vehicle — was now standing in front of me without a scratch on him. He stood there in complete shock. I tried asking him what happened several times, but he just stared at the wreck in front of him like a zombie.
My partner and I tried to pull the car over onto its side to get to the other boy , who was trapped under the car, but we couldn’t move it. While we waited for Emergency Service to respond, my partner ran the license plate on the Corvette and, to neither of our surprise, the car was reported stolen. These young guys were on a joyride.
I was so pissed at those kids for stealing someone’s property, driving recklessly, and putting innocent motorists’ lives at risk.
Finally, the Emergency Service Unit arrived. They attached hooks onto the carriage of the flipped Corvette and used hydraulics to hoist the car up, which gave me enough clearance to peek under the vehicle and guide the trapped boy out.
I yelled at the boy, “Get out! Hurry!” I repeated myself several times, but he wouldn’t move. I could see him sitting in a full squat, terrified and, like his partner-in-crime, in complete shock.
I tried several more verbal commands before I just reached under the cab and grabbed whatever part of him I could. I gripped my right hand around a healthy amount of his clothing and yanked. He still wouldn’t budge. So, I dropped to my knees in the muddy grass and dove in headfirst. I used both my arms this time. I felt around until I grabbed onto something substantial. Then I pulled as hard I could. I pulled and pulled like I was competing in tug–of-war. All of a sudden, something gave way, and with a violent snap, I flew backwards and landed on my ass. Whatever it was that I had grabbed onto was now clutched between my hands…several feet away from the scene.
There was a foot…with a sneaker on it…pressed up against my chest! I panicked and screamed. Did I just rip this kid’s leg off?!?! I was going into shock!
My partner rushed over, smacked me in the face and yelled, “It’s a prosthetic! A fake leg! The kid’s got a fake leg!”
When I came to my senses, we got the rest of the boy out from under that car. He went onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. Even though he was a thief, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the kid. While he was being strapped onto the stretcher, he just kept asking for his leg. So I put it on the stretcher next to his other leg, took his hand and placed it on the prosthetic so he could feel it and get some comfort and relief.
I don’t know what ever happened to those boys. I was never asked to go to court on the case of the stolen Corvette–they probably copped a plea. But I do know that they both got outta that wreck alive thanks, in some part, to my partner and me.
Cops don’t have superpowers and aren’t invincible. But sometimes, in the line duty, when we worked together, we could become super heroic. We could save people that were involved in a horrific car accident and we could lock up some bad guys for grand theft auto. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we got to do both those things at the same time…and that felt super.