I used to work in a division which was quite large & a little remote. I’ve mentioned it before. When I say remote, I mean in terms of the rest of our force area, not in terms of the rest of the country, I mean, nothing like the Scottish Highlands or anything but remote enough to be exciting.
It didn’t matter what happened in our area, we were always first on the scene. Fatal RTAs? we beat traffic almost every time. Shootings & armed robberies? (yes we had one or two) we beat firearms. It was a great place to work, little backup but some juicy jobs.
I got sent to an RTC at about 2.30 in the morning. Out in the sticks somewhere along one of the main arteries into our area. Countryside for miles around, dark, occasional houses but not many. You never knew what was in it until you got there. A tuppeny ha’penny damage only, a drink drive arrest or a triple fatal (yes we had those too).
So there you are on another blue light run, this one isn’t a dual carriageway or motorway, there’s lots of bends, trees & bushes. You take the opportunity to keep your hand in on the driving skills front. And then you come round the bend and see it in the road ahead. The light from the headlamps glows through the early morning mist, well one of them does, the other is smashed. You pull up a safe distance from the scene, just so that anything approaching will see your blue lights in time before piling into the road crash scene.
Whoever called it in hasn’t stopped. Sometimes they don’t. They just drive on past but at least they call 999. You can’t see if anyone is inside the car as you approach it. Normally they’ve either run off or they are standing at the side of the road rubbing their heads and wondering how they came to get into that situation. This time nobody is walking around looking for excuses to blame their bad driving on. Nobody is shouting at anyone else and putting the blame on them. And it’s quiet, very quiet. It’s not like being in the town where the distant hum of the motorway or main road is a constant reminder of people moving about at every hour. There’s no hum of street lights, no noises from the factory night shifts.
It’s no obvious what’s happened straight away. The car has a smashed offside, the light cluster is gone, the bodywork dented. There is only one vehicle, if it hit another then the second one is long gone. There are no skidmarks on the approach so it doesn’t look like a car coming the same way you just came was involved.
You get closer and you see a large oak tree off to your nearside, the RTC car’s offside. It has a thick scar across it’s trunk, the light beige of it’s bare moist wood shines flashes in the pulses of blue from your lights. So the car has left the road, hit the tree and bounced back into the carriageway. No doubt a nicked car and the lads who nicked it have been picked up by mates and are currently searching the streets of the town you’ve just come from, looking for another ride.
It’s not until you get up close to the car that you realise someone is inside. They’re not shouting out to you, there’s no moaning. You open the door, it’s a male, white, twenties. A quick glance beside & behind him tells you he’s alone. You pause long enough to call on the radio for an ambo…1
- part two to follow [↩]