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  #131  
Unread 04-16-2017, 03:34 PM
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Steve Steve is offline
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Default The Day 0255 Almost Died

Mac88chp posted some photos of wrecked SSP 0391 today. Looking at those photos reminded me of a summer evening in Los Banos when 0255 (and me along with it) almost met our end by traffic collision.

It was evening on Interstate 5, about two hours left until sunset, traffic was light, when I observed a motorcycle stopped on the shoulder ahead. As I pulled in behind I noticed the rider had some tools and was working on it. I exited and asked if he needed any assistance; I'd be happy to call for a tow or give him a ride into town (about 25 miles) if that would help. He declined, stating that he had the tools and was sure he could fix it and would be on his way soon.

I returned to 0255 and seat belted in, then was making an entry into my activity log when I looked up into the rear-view mirror and observed a vehicle partially in the right lane approaching, at freeway speed, that had drifted about 3/4 of the way onto the shoulder. The driver was looking to the right and down, was distracted, and apparently had his left hand on the steering wheel so when he turned and looked to the right it caused the wheel to steer slightly to the right and now the vehicle was coming directly at us at freeway speed. I knew that the small, lightweight Mustang did not have enough size and mass to protect me from such an impact. I knew that when it hit it was going to be all over; we were likely both finished. As the errant vehicle approached, I had only enough time to say "Oh, shit!"... and then, miraculously, at the last possible moment in time the driver looked up and saw what was about to happen. I'll never forget the look of surprise and terror on his face as he yanked the steering wheel to the left. The vehicle fishtailed, with the rear end swerving toward us, but the change in direction was just enough so that it didn't hit 0255. The driver overcorrected to the right and his vehicle again went almost sideways, in the other direction. After a few more swerves he got it under control again. I composed myself and immediately chased it down and made a stop. I needed to know why this happened; perhaps this driver was impaired.

He pulled over immediately. As I made contact, the driver was visibly shaking. Frankly, I don't know who was more traumatized; me or him. I said, "We both know what happened back there. Why?" He stammered and began apologizing profusely, stating he had dropped something onto the floor on the right side and was leaning over to pick it up and didn't realize his vehicle had drifted. He was obviously not intoxicated, and his documents checked out, so I told him I didn't think he needed a lecture on paying attention and avoiding distractions; the point had already been made. He then went on his way.

I walked back to 0255, waiting patiently as always, and I thought again about how close we had come. 0255 would have been destroyed, and if I hadn't been killed I probably would wish afterwards I had been. Even if I survived it would have been the end of my career and just about everything else. I needed a large coffee after that so we headed North to the Santa Nella truck stop, contemplating the meaning of life the whole way.
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1982 CHP 0204
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  #132  
Unread 04-16-2017, 08:25 PM
chp1982 chp1982 is offline
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Close call! I have yet to hear of an officer being seriously injured in an '82. I am waiting on the newspaper article about the 0391 crash to find out what exactly happened.
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  #133  
Unread 04-17-2017, 09:31 AM
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Yikes! I'm glad the driver was able to react in time.
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To everyone out there, wherever you are. Remember, the light at the end of the tunnel may be the police chasing you down in their own Mustang!
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  #134  
Unread 04-17-2017, 09:29 PM
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mac88chp mac88chp is offline
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Yikes, glad you dodged that bullet. I would have also needed a change of undershorts afterwards!
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1988 CHP #3035

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  #135  
Unread 04-17-2017, 10:05 PM
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Steve Steve is offline
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That was by far the closest I ever came to being killed by traffic. There were other potential times, but I was out of the vehicle and could see it coming and was able to get out of the way.

CHP trains hard and always emphasizes to be aware of traffic. That's the main reason for the passenger-side approach on freeway car stops.

That evening in Los Banos there was absolutely nothing I could do. I was not exaggerating when I said in the story that I thought it was all over, we were done.
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  #136  
Unread 04-20-2017, 05:07 PM
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MOstang MOstang is offline
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Very scary!
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1992 Michigan State Police SSP Mustang #5114
1993 Missouri State Highway Patrol SSP Mustang P641
1993 Missouri State Highway Patrol SSP Mustang P993

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