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A Citizen's "Unreasonable" Request?

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  • A Citizen's "Unreasonable" Request?

    Suppose the following occurred:

    Your car is parked on the street in front of your residence at 8:00 PM, when you hear an impact (from inside the house), run outside and discover the vehicle has been totaled by another vehicle that's fled the scene. The other car has lost one of it's wheels and continued down the street on just three tires, leaving drag marks for 1/2 mile.

    You call "911" on your cell phone and follow the "tracks" until you find P1 vehicle, abandoned at the curb. Inside (in plain view) is a prescription pill bottle on the driver's side floorboard.

    You return to your home and wait approximately one hour for the police to arrive. Just prior to their arrival, the R/O of P1 returns to your location in a vehicle driven by his father. He offers no explanation or excuse for his driving or flight, but appears to you (an untrained citizen) to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

    The police arrive, speak briefly with the driver and without conducting any FSTs or other follow-up regarding possible DUI tell you that:
    1) There was no hit and run, since the driver returned to the scene voluntarily (even though he fled earlier).
    2) They don't think he's DUI.
    3) No written report will be completed since this is a "property damage only" collision w/o special conditions such as DUI impairment or Hit and Run. You are told to exchange information only, even though you request a complete investigation, a written report and are willing to prosecute.

    You request a supervisor respond to the scene, one arrives and despite your request for an official investigation (and report), he concurs with the officers' previous assessment.

    The next AM, you use the R/O's ID and find he has a "Face Book" page, where a few hours later he:
    1) Admits being DUI at the time of the collision.
    2) States how "lucky" he was that the cops didn't arrest him.

    You make copies of the "Face Book" page, contact the agency's W/C and again request a formal report. Several hours later, you note the suspect's page has been deleted from "Face Book." You confirm that the suspect's vehicle was never searched, is still parked where it was left and that the pill jar is still in plain view. The W/C reiterates that "no crime" occurred and info was exchanged. The request for a formal report is deemed as "unreasonable."

    The name of the agency is unimportant. The location where the collision occurred is a residential area, where there have been numerous complaints about reckless driving from the homeowners.

    How would you view this incident as a private person and what do you (as a LEO) think about the way it was handled?
    Last edited by pulicords; 10-26-2009, 08:03 PM.
    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

  • #2
    Are you talking about Ontario PD ??? Know of a alcoholic beverage related DUI incident that happened that way- down the street from a former deputy buddy of mine. 3 wks later the OPD arrested him for 273.5 PC ,EVEN though his now"former wife" was intoxicated, BIT him, causing him to bleed. and had self inflicted scratch marks !!!!!( the officers on scene took cell phone pics of her in her underwear "for evidence", and even openly flirted with her. "Yes" ,of course it was a S.B. D.A. REJECT)

    "PC" arrest, go thru the DUI testing anyway,including any evid. recovered........
    Last edited by DOAcop38; 10-26-2009, 08:13 PM.
    "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DOAcop38 View Post
      Are you talking about Ontario PD ???
      The agency involved isn't relevant and sorry, but no hints. I'm just looking for impressions of how one would take this as a "citizen" and how we view such actions as LEOs.
      "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

      Comment


      • #4
        Permissible Action: Duty Where Property Damaged

        20002. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:

        (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.

        (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

        (b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.

        (c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

        Amended Ch. 621, Stats. 1992. Effective January 1, 1993.
        Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 421, Stats. 1999. Effective January 1, 2000.
        Amended Sec. 16, Ch. 825, Stats. 2001. Effective January 1, 2002.
        Seems to me that the other driver certainly complied with the "Permissible" requirements of 20002 VC. The time frame may not have been to the liking of the victim, but, as one can see, there is not a time frame contained within the section.

        Since I was not there, I must concur with the decision of the officers who were there that there was no impairment. With reference to the "Facebook" entry, the young man could well be expanding on the truth to make it appear he got away with something. The victim needs to present the information from the other party to his insurance agency and allow them to begin working on compensation for the loss incurred.

        We are talking about a property damage incident. It is at the very worse a misdemeanor not committed in the presence of any witnesses.

        If the watch commander was satisfied that all was handled appropriately, then (s)he gets my support.
        Last edited by SgtCHP; 10-26-2009, 08:24 PM.
        Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

        [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

        Comment


        • #5
          I would view the conduct very negatively.

          I would photograph the vehicles and the contents of the suspect vehicle.

          I would file personnel complaints against the officers involved and the supervisor, alleging deriliction of duty. Leaving the scene and returning an hour later does not negate hit and run, because the action was not "immediate". Unfortunately, they would not be able to prove that he was drunk at the time of the collision, because he could have gotten drunk after leaving.

          Of course, I would have saved a copy of the Facebook page before it was deleted. It would be useful in the civil suit, and also as an attachment to the personnel complaints.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post
            I would view the conduct very negatively.

            I would photograph the vehicles and the contents of the suspect vehicle.

            I would file personnel complaints against the officers involved and the supervisor, alleging deriliction of duty. Leaving the scene and returning an hour later does not negate hit and run, because the action was not "immediate". Unfortunately, they would not be able to prove that he was drunk at the time of the collision, because he could have gotten drunk after leaving.

            Of course, I would have saved a copy of the Facebook page before it was deleted. It would be useful in the civil suit, and also as an attachment to the personnel complaints.
            As a police officer, as I believe you are, I have to agree with you 100%. I can't speak to CA law as I am a DC LEO, but here we would have had to take, at the very least, an incident report. Now, the fact that the vehicle was abandoned down the street would need to be documented in the report. I would not put too much stock in the pill bottle (from a legal/criminal perspective) or the facebook page (again from a legal/criminal perspective). As was already said, he could have become intoxicated AFTER leaving the scene. The pill bottle could have been sitting in there for weeks, it's not like having an open, cold bottle of Budweiser. Even if he admits to driving, it would seem you have a misdemeanor leaving after colliding (in DC). HOWEVER, you have zero witnesses. What you would need is one of your neighbors stating, "Yeah, that is the same person I saw run away from the striking vehicle!" If you had a witness, it would make a legal case much more plausible.

            If all three routes you went through told you that they acted appropriately, then I would venture to say they did. At my agency, it would have been an incident report though and then the insurance companies would handle all that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SEAL6770 View Post
              As a police officer, as I believe you are, I have to agree with you 100%. I can't speak to CA law as I am a DC LEO, but here we would have had to take, at the very least, an incident report. Now, the fact that the vehicle was abandoned down the street would need to be documented in the report. I would not put too much stock in the pill bottle (from a legal/criminal perspective) or the facebook page (again from a legal/criminal perspective). As was already said, he could have become intoxicated AFTER leaving the scene. The pill bottle could have been sitting in there for weeks, it's not like having an open, cold bottle of Budweiser. Even if he admits to driving, it would seem you have a misdemeanor leaving after colliding (in DC). HOWEVER, you have zero witnesses. What you would need is one of your neighbors stating, "Yeah, that is the same person I saw run away from the striking vehicle!" If you had a witness, it would make a legal case much more plausible.

              If all three routes you went through told you that they acted appropriately, then I would venture to say they did. At my agency, it would have been an incident report though and then the insurance companies would handle all that.
              I would be documenting my civil case. After all, I am not going to get anything out of his being prosecuted, even though he probably should be.

              The admission from the person who came back to the scene would be good enough for a civil case.

              The Facebook page is admissible in evidence.

              The pill bottle might be admissible. Its relevance would depend on what the medication was. It certainly provides reason why the officers should have investigated.

              I forgot to mention that I would look into filing a report with the DMV.

              I don't appreciate police officers trying to kiss off incidents. I had that happen to me when I was hit by a DUI many years ago. The officer who responded belittled me for saying that I thought the driver was drunk. Fortunately, a friend of mine showed up and told the officer that I knew what I was doing. He gave the driver FSTs and came back with a look of surprise on his face and said the driver was UI. He wanted me to make the arrest (which of course would have been very foolish). I told him that was his job. He did. The driver was a refusal and had a prior. I am not sympathetic to lazy police officers.

              Of course, we don't know the whole story here, but it sounds like, at the very least, that the officers did not do a good job of communicating.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DAL View Post
                I would be documenting my civil case. After all, I am not going to get anything out of his being prosecuted, even though he probably should be.

                The admission from the person who came back to the scene would be good enough for a civil case.

                The Facebook page is admissible in evidence.

                The pill bottle might be admissible. Its relevance would depend on what the medication was. It certainly provides reason why the officers should have investigated.

                I forgot to mention that I would look into filing a report with the DMV.

                I don't appreciate police officers trying to kiss off incidents. I had that happen to me when I was hit by a DUI many years ago. The officer who responded belittled me for saying that I thought the driver was drunk. Fortunately, a friend of mine showed up and told the officer that I knew what I was doing. He gave the driver FSTs and came back with a look of surprise on his face and said the driver was UI. He wanted me to make the arrest (which of course would have been very foolish). I told him that was his job. He did. The driver was a refusal and had a prior. I am not sympathetic to lazy police officers.

                Of course, we don't know the whole story here, but it sounds like, at the very least, that the officers did not do a good job of communicating.


                Yeah, you are right about that stuff being admissable in the civil arena, I was just talking about the criminal case, or lack thereof, out here. The victim here would have a very substantial civil case as the evidence is mounted against the alleged fleeing driver.

                Either way you look at it, if no report being taken was the right move, the officers and supervisors should have made this reasoning clear to the victim. That way, the victim could understand the policy and attempt to change it in the right venue. Instead, it seems the citizen is confused and left scratching his head. I just don't rattle off, "We don't take reports for that" and drive off. I will try to explain to the best of my ability and the majority of citizens will understand. That should have happened here.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would have been happy with the driver returning to the scene and taking responsibility for his actions. Info exchange and both parties are on their way. Why conduct a hit n run investigation when you have both parties at the scene. You could not possible hang a DUI charge on the driver, or one that a DA/CA would file. Hence, a whole lot of time wasted on a big nothing. All you can hope for is that the driver, if he was drunk, learned from this mistake and does not drive impaired again.

                  The key issue being nobody got hurt and the damged property will be repaired.

                  Sometimes as an officer we can not always go for the "big arrest". A hit n run w/ prop damge only is a Misd. On top of that, a DUI arrest is the only misd which requires the most amount of paperwork out of any arrest you will ever make, felony or misd. I'm not afraid of the paperwork but my time can be spent elsewhere, maybe on a solid DUI I observed.

                  P.S.

                  A police officers job is not to collect evidence for a civil case, it to collect evidence for a criminal case. With that being said, let the insurance companies fight it out.
                  Last edited by 2wheeldep; 10-26-2009, 10:23 PM. Reason: xxxxxx

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hit and run still occurred, he clearly drove away from the scene of a known crash. One hour is clearly not immediate. A hit and run (crime) report should have been taken. The officers only have the discretion on whether or not to cite/arrest. I know their answer might be "well the city attorney won't file one it since he eventually returned." That's not relevant. Plus it's crappy police work.

                    Even I would file a complaint on that. I might also contact a local media outlet, and my city council. I think there is more to the story (the suspect knew someone or was 'important'). Or I would just go straight to an attorney and think about naming the city in the lawsuit along with the driver.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      From this non LEO's citizen's perspective, here is my two cents worth......

                      In the cities in my area, I doubt a cop would have even been dispatched to the scene. I have heard from several people around here that the dispatcher asked if there were injuries and when they answered no, the dispatcher instructed them to simply exchange information. In addition, the dispatchers didn't ask if anybody seemed intoxicated.

                      I know at least one person who was slammed by a DUI driver who just exchanged information as instructed by the dispatcher. Why they didn't bring up the subject with the dispatcher I don't know. Maybe because they were a little shaken up from the accident. Or maybe because the other driver was standing right next to them when they were on the phone.

                      In my opinion, dispatchers should be trained to ask those questions. If a drunk slams into someone I think logic dictates that if they continue driving there is a good chance they may slam into someone else, and possibly injure or kill them. The above happened a few years ago so it may no longer be the case. Hopefully the dispatchers are better trained now. I hope so.

                      In the unincorporated areas around here, the CHP will come out and take a report if requested, even with no injuries, last I heard.

                      I hear the rationale for not taking reports on prop damage only accidents is because of lack of resources. But that is kind of a hard sell when you have a motorcycle cop a few blocks away working a radar gun.

                      I don't know what good it would do the victim to file a civil lawsuit if the at fault driver had insurance, unless the victim is looking for punitive damages.

                      As far as the cops handling.....I don't know the nuances of hit and run law, but it appears to me that someone who drives away on three wheels in a vehicle designed for four wheels is not displaying an attitude of stopping to exchange information.

                      As far as him being drunk, I guess that would be academic since it could not be proved that he didn't down a pint after the collision occurred as opposed to before.

                      I can't say that I'm impressed with the police as described in this incident, however, I have seen less impressive police service where I live. At least they showed up, and they showed up in an hour. I had to wait two hours when my son's car got stolen and the PD refused to put it out on the airwaves until after they spoke with me in person.

                      I don't think filing a complaint with the PD would accomplish anything positive.The bottom line is that the PD is composed of human beings like all other walks of life. Some do the job better than others and some do the job worse than others.

                      My family and I have been victims of one accident and a few property crimes, the worse being my son's car being stolen. Some of the officers handled matters professionally and some handled matters like lazy and entitled union workers. Like I said, that profession is like all others. You have the good and the bad.
                      Jubilant Patriotic Republican

                      America gave Obama the benefit of the doubt when they elected him. Obama is now giving America the doubt of the benefit of his governance......Change you can bereave in!..JPR

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Puli, funny you should mention this because I handled a T/C with the nearly identical circumstances. In my scenario, the guy was booked for DUI/hit and run. Also in mine, I was at scene before P1 returned so it was slightly different in that regard.

                        In my agency, if there are no injuries and each party is properly licensed, insured and registered then generally a report will not be taken.

                        As far as this is concerned, the states that anybody involved in a T/C is required to stop and identify themselves at the scene of the T/C. Since P1 left the scene and returned prior to police arrival, it becomes a misd not committed in the presence of an officer. So if they are willing to go the PPA route and have good wits and such, thats on them.

                        If somebody is alledging that somebody is under the influence, then I will conduct FSTs for nothing else then to just please them. The next issue is placing P1 in driver seat of V1.

                        Since I personally wouldve have written the report, when the guy came in with the facebook pages, i wouldve filled out a follow-up report and send it along to the divs who handle traffic related crimes and let them write a warrant or follow-up.

                        As a citizen, it looks bad but a lot of things we do look bad, even when its the right thing.

                        Honestly, i dont get why officers spend so much time dodging TC reports. The are one of the easiest reports that we write. In the amount time wasted waiting for a traffic car or talking our way out of it, you could've written the report already already.
                        LAPD

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2wheeldep View Post
                          A police officers job is not to collect evidence for a civil case, it to collect evidence for a criminal case. With that being said, let the insurance companies fight it out.
                          In traffic accidents, a police officer's job is broader than that. There are reporting standards, and the reports are used for statistical purposes.

                          Under your logic, you would not take reports of collisions with injuries; just let the insurance companies fight it out. And you would not take reports of thefts, burglaries or vandalisms where there is no known suspect or identifiable property.
                          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DAL View Post
                            In traffic accidents, a police officer's job is broader than that. There are reporting standards, and the reports are used for statistical purposes.

                            Under your logic, you would not take reports of collisions with injuries; just let the insurance companies fight it out. And you would not take reports of thefts, burglaries or vandalisms where there is no known suspect or identifiable property.
                            The only reason police should take TC reports is for prosecution. 459s and such with no suspect info can be solved at a later date when they are tied into other crimes, so there is a valid reason to take those. Unless a cite is issued or the DA will file for a traffic collision, there shouldn't be a police report.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I actually had a similar incident, when a driver wrecked his vehicle in a parking lot and took out a wall. When we arrived the driver was gone, but the passenger was laid out on the ground with a broken leg as a result of the t/c. We checked the car and of course there was alcohol inside of it.

                              After about 15 minutes, the driver finally reemerged. I asked him where the hell was he, and hooked him up. He said he was scared and ran. As I spoke with him I realized he didnt appear to be drunk, just dumb for running from the scene. I put him through the FST's and he passed.

                              Obviously we were not there, and there are always two sides to a story. So I'm not sure if the officers did the right thing, or not. It doesn't sound that way though.

                              The face book would have been compelling to see in court it it would have been a dui hook.

                              On a side note, we only do 555's for TC's with injuries.

                              Comment

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