Chasing drunk drivers at over 100 miles an hour.

Several times in my career I was involved in following vehicles at over 100 mph. I usually drove about 75 to 80 mph on freeways, so i could catch people speeding in front of me. To get someone over a 100 they usually have to pass me or come onto the freeway from an on-ramp. He are a few stories about those incidents.

I was working graves and driving N/B on I-805 from the I-15. I hd a car pass me and I caught up to him and paced him over 100 mph. The driver finally pulled over and I went up to the car. He and his passenger were so drunk they could barely even stand up. I put the driver in jail, this was his 4th drunk driving arrest and he later went to state prison for 9 months. At the time of his arrest he thought he was driving S/B on I-805, he thought they were heading to Mexico. But he was headed to prison instead.

Graves again and N/B I-163 out of downtown. I had a car pull onto the freeway in front of me and then start to speed up. I followed and he got up to 110 mph for a couple miles. He exited and I follwed him to his home and let him park his car. (I had already run his plate, so I knew where he lived) I arrested him for drunk driving, he didn’t think it was fair because he was already home. Well, he almost made it home.

Late 2nd watch about 10 pm and I was E/B I-8 from I-163. Traffic was light and I saw someone speeding and cutting in and out of traffic a about 1/4 ahead of me. I tried to catch up but he was going too fast and I was way behind him. The only way I kept him in sight was the fact that he was driving a truck and he left turn signal was on the entire time. He finally exited the freeway and then ran a red light and continued on. I followed him to his home and arrsted him after he parked his truck. If your going to drive drunk, don’t drive fast.

Graves and S/B I-805 from I-52. A vehicle enters the freeway ahead of me and the driving sped up. I followed and again he got up over 100 mph. I follwed for about a mile and then put on my overhead lights. The driver pulled to the right and got out of his car. He staggered into the traffic lane and I had to grab him and pull him to safety, before me both got hit. Again he was too drunk to walk. When he walked out into traffic it scared me. I thought he was going to get him by another car right in front of me.




The bullets were flying everywhere….

I processed several hundred crime scenes in my 22 years as a field evidence technition. Some of them stick out in my mind over the others. It was common to find a live bullet on the ground at a shooting scene that involved an automatic handgun. The “shooter” would pull back the slide to show his victim that he had a loaded gun. So now he had one less bullet to fire.

I respionded to a call of mulitple gunshots in an apartment complex in Southeast Division. When I arrived there were two H/M’s on the ground next to their truck. Both had been shot several times in the lower legs. The truck was parked about 7 cars down in that lot. The 7 cars had numerous bullet holes in them. The suspect had fired 67 rounds from an AK47. I found out later that the two “victim’s” had just come from a street known for drug sales. They were followed by a mini-van that had a sliding side door. The suspects in the mini-van throught that the guys they were following were trying to take over drug sales on that street and they were going to give them the message to backoff. When the van stopped a male got out and started firing the AK47 from the hip. He would fire in one place and then move toward the victim’s truck. At one point he had to reload and he dropped his empty magizine on the ground. He fired low into the truck’s cab to just wound the two inside. He got back in the van and it took off. Both victim’s recovered from their wounds. The shooting scene looked like something out of a movie.

One night we got a shots fired call from a gang neighborhood. The callers said that 4 cadillac’s pulled up and 4 males got out of each car. They were all armed with 9MM handguns. They shot up all the cars parked in front of a gang house. They also shot into the garage, to hit the cars parked inside. A couple bullets were also fired high up above the windows on the front of the home. No one inside the home was hit. Cops were comng up to me with handfulls of 9MM casing. There were over 100 rounds fired. I guess the gangster that lived there did something to piss off his own gang or another gang. I never found out.

being naked was worse that being shot…

I was working “c” squad in Mid-City in the early 2000’s. I couple of cops on my squad were at a police storefront on University Ave doing paperwork when they heard about a dozen gunshots from about a block away. They put out the shots fired and many units responded. They found two males in the back area of an apartment complex. They had each been shot once or twice and the first cops there checked for wounds. One of the guys was only 17yrs old and the female cop checking him took all his clothing off him. I showed up with my Polaroid camera to document the wounds. I had to split up his photos to keep his exposed groin out of the photos. I still remember the kid lying nude with dozens of people looking down on him from 2nd story windows and from the dozens of people in the crowd. A couple other cops caught one of the shooting suspects a few blocks away. He still had the 9mm handgun on him. I told the female cop that we don’t remove all a victims clothing to check for wounds, the medics will cut clothing away if necessary. She said it was her first time with a gunshot victim and she got a little excited…Neither victim died.

My 1st SWAT mission and another SWAT mission

I went through the SWAT academy in feb 1988. I was the oldest (30yrs old) and largest(255lbs) officer of the 20 of us that started. Only 16 were left after 2 weeks. I was working southeast 2nd watch when a call went out for a “code 10″ SWAT callout. I responded and it was a support mission for a raid on a drug house, oddly enough in my division. I had the job of shutting off the water on the outside, so they could not flush the drugs. I rode up with a couple SWAT cops in a undercover car. We had our gas masks on already, because SWAT was going to be using alot of gas. We stopped at the house and I shut off the water and took out a position in the yard. A guy from the house tried to get away and I handcuffed him and laid him on his stomach. I could not move him so I stood with my legs locking him in place below me until the mission was done. They put alot of gas into that home. Over 20 years later I was working off duty doing security in the emergency room of a local hospital. A family had come in and I overhear the father give their home address. It was the same place as my 1st mission. I asked him if he could still smell teargas in his home and he told me that in parts of the house they always could smell teargas, 20 years later. 

We ahd a SWAT mission to enter a drug home for a narcotics unit. My job was to put a flash bang grenade through a bathroom window as a diversion for the entry. I had found an old baseball bat several years before and donated it to the team as another tool to use. The window had  security bars over it and the glass was closed. i took the bat with me and used it like a short spear and punched a hole in the glass. I had the grenade in my right hand and I pulled the pin and pushed it through the hole. The blast was so confined that part of the ceiling panels came down. The people inside were shocked by the flashbang and didn’t react to the door being forced open by the entry team.  

Drunk driving on a bicycle and cociane outside the bar.

I was working Pacific Beach in the early 1980’s when a new law was added in regards to drunk driving. It was now illegal to ride a bicycle on the street while unde the influence of alcohol. One of our local marijuana dealers always road a bicycle and he was usually drunk. He would just ride up and down the boardwalk and set deals to sell marijuana. One afternoon i saw him ride out into the street and I waited for him to do something wrong. As i recall he almost hit a car and I stopped him. I ended up arresting him for drunk driving on a bicycle and he went to jail. The legal limit was a .10% blood alcohol percent and he was a .15%. He fought the charge and we went to court on the matter. A jury was selected and the trial went on for a couple days. He felt it was unfair, because he was always a .15%. He was found guilty and had to pay a $250 fine.

This was the first time a bicycle drunk driving case had gone to trial and a local paper sent a reporter to cover the case. The reporter asked me about the case and also about working the Pacific Beach area. I told him about the drug problem in the parking lot of a popular bar on Garnet Street. I would walk the lot looking for cars with the interior lights on. Powered cociane was very popular then and people would do a line prior to going into the bar. I would stand outside and watch them do a line and then arrest them for possession and under the influence. I did this just about every night. When the bar owner read the article he thought I was lying and the paper interviewed him. He make a comment about me and I quote: “That cop couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse with a handfull of $100 bills.” By now my squad mates and I were working his bar parking lot and arresting his customers before they could get in. The place went out of business a couple years later.

Gun calls that didn’t become a SWAT Mission.

When I was a teenager I played with the other neighborhood kids in a nearby canyon. This canyon was perfect for playing “army” and other related games. As a Cop I always felt that Police work was also a big game. We try to catch the bad guys and they try to get away. Sometimes we win and sometimes they do, its only a game afterall.

I was working 2nd watch, mid 1990’s, in southeast and I was the PRT leader (SWAT primary response team) on that day. I had just come from a SWAT training, so I was in our camo training uniform. A gun call went out in paradise hills and I responded along with 3 other cops.  The caller was outside his home when we arrived. He said that his roommate was really drunk and he had threatened him with a handgun. He told us that his roommate’s room was the one right by the front door. I had the guy cal out to his roommate several times with no response. I went up to the home and i could see the suspect lying on his bed. I put one cop there to watch him and the rest of us entered the home. We cleared the house and set up outside the suspects room. His door was locked and my plan was to break down the door and rush him before he could respond. I took the door and he had no idea what had happened. He had a couple loaded guns on the bed with him. He went to jail and the victim could got his home back. 

Western 2nd watch in the late 1990’s and again I was the PRT leader on his shift. I only was assigned as PRT leader when a Sgt was not available. I was an Agent, which is one rank below a Sgt. A suicide call came out in Mission Valley. A female called in saying she had a gun  and would shoot herself. I got there after several cops, including my Lt and a couple of Sgt’s, were already there. I brought along a “door knocker” to take down her door is it was needed, One of the cops had been talking to the suspect at the back patio of her apartment. He was on the other side of a fence that had vertical slats in it. He could see her and she had nothing in her hands. For some reason he asked to hold her hand and she allowed him. That lasted just a short time. I asked him to hold her hand again and she put her hand through the fence. I told the cop to grab her hand with both of hiis, so she couldn’t move. I ran around to her front door and broke it open with the door knocker. A couple cops followed me and we handcuffed her. The gun was found in her living room.  She went to a local hospital for a 72 hr evaluation.  

Drunk drivers,,,,,that scared me,,,

I was working 3rd watch on Christmas eve in the early 80’s in Mission Beach. It was a very busy night. Alot of party calls and other holiday related alcohol fueled incidents. I was driving N/B on Mission Blvd when a small truck made a “u” turn in front of me and caused me to hit the brakes. Normally when I’m driving fast or doing some police enforcement drving, I don’t get upset when I get cut off by another driver. I figure that the price of doing police business. Not in this case. I was just driving along miding my own business. I stopped the truck and of course the driver was drunk. There were four other males in the truck. Including the drivers twin brother. I had done all of the field tests out of view of the four males and I had cuffed the driver and put him in my back seat before I went back to the truck. When I told them he was under arrest all four got out of the truck. One of them said; “We could just take him from you”. I was at the bottom of the division and if I called for cover it wouldn’t get to me in time to stop these guys. Now I was 24 at the time and 6’2 and 255 lbs. I just looked at them and said: “Well, I have all kinds of weapons on my belt and the first two of you to step up are going to the hospital”. I told them he would be out in about 6 hours and they decided to just pick him up from jail in the morning. That was a close call.

The beach again on 3rd watch. I stop a guy for some violation and he ahd been drinking. He was about 15 years older that me and he was a hard type. I found out later he had done time in prison. He was one of those guys that make store owners nervous when they walk in. He was as tall as me, but he was thicker in the chest and shoulders. I got done with the tests and I told him he was under arrest for drunk driving. He looked at me and said:”Drunk diving, I should just kick your ass”. I told him it was no big deal and he would be out in 6 to 8 hours. He said:’ 8 hours, I could do that on my head” . He turned around and I handcuffed him. Another close call.

I was working Eastern in about 2008 on graves and i was S/B on I-805 from I-52. I vehicle entered the freeway in front of me and the driver started to speed up. I followed him and we got up to over 100 mph. I put on my lights and siren and he finally stopped. The driver got out before I got to his car and he staggered into the traffci lanes. I quicky grabbed him and cuffed him. He was so drunk he could barely stand. I was sure he was going to get run over right before my eyes.