I almost titled this one “stupid criminal tricks” but until someone actually gets convicted, I suppose criminal is a bit judgmental….
Here’s the latest story that has us shaking our heads at what people will try to do to get out of trouble. The place and time – State Route 99, south of Pixley, California (in California’s great Central Valley) – about 3am. One of our south county patrol units is driving up 99 towards Pixley, heading back to the Substation. He sees a vehicle displaying all the signs of an intoxicated driver, so he makes a traffic stop. After the normal “license, registration, and insurance” interaction, the deputy gets on the radio and asks to have the CHP dispatched for a drunk driver. I get on the phone and place that call to get them started, when I hear my supervisor pick up a 9-1-1 line, and things start getting interesting…….
A caller is transferred to us, wanting to report someone shooting at him on the freeway. He gives a location in Pixley, just up the road from where our unit has made his traffic stop. The only trouble is, the caller can’t give a good location, or really explain very well what is going on. During the conversation, he gives a couple of different locations, each one making less sense that the last. Now, the supervisor taking the call grew up and lived in Pixley until very recently, so she knows the lay of the land. She’s trying to get the caller to give her something that makes sense, but he’s now getting agitated, and hangs up. Since we don’t know what’s going on, we put the call into the computer, and send another deputy out to check on things. We don’t need someone running around being shot at, or having gangsters running around shooting at passing cars.
A few minutes later, I get another call, this time from a different caller, with basically the same story. He says he’s pulled off the freeway in Pixley, at the Shell, and that someone had been shooting at him. The man on the phone is a blubbering mess, trying to convince me that he’s scared to death and that he and his family are in mortal danger. He can’t give a good location, either, which isn’t really all that unusual, but his story isn’t matching anything from the earlier story, and his locations don’t make any sense either. So now we have two vicitims out there, somewhere in Pixley, maybe at the Shell, or maybe at the Chevron, or maybe at the park……
Back to the supervisor, who has been using the information from the first caller to try and ascertain where he really is. Turns out the GPS information from his phone says he’s in Delano! We give Delano PD the heads up, just in case they have a Shell or a Chevron with some guy there having been shot at, sitting waiting for the cops. He said he was in Pixley, but his phone appears to believe it’s in Delano! Hmmmmm…..
Well, the supervisor now takes the call info from my caller, the hysterical family man also “in Pixley”. She zooms in on the latitude and longitude transmitted along with the phone call to 9-1-1 and discovers this one’s location. And guess where it is?? The exact same location as the traffic stop on 99! The plot thickens, gels, and becomes clear!
Now the drunk driver not only has our first deputy there, and the CHP, but also the deputy looking for the people being shot at! This clever plan has backfired big time!
Here’s what happened. The group left a party in Delano, and got stopped for drunk driving on 99. While the deputy is away from the vehicle, someone calls a buddy and tells him “we got stopped for drunk driving! You have to do something quick!”
Stupid Drunk Human Trick 1. That person tries to call 9-1-1and tell us that someone is shooting at them up the road a bit. (don’t try this drunk, your story just doesn’t make any sense to sober 9-1-1 professionals) Trying to get the deputy to clear the stop before anybody got arrested, the caller assumes reports of shots fired will get immediate action. (It does, but in their alcohol infused state, they didn’t stop to think that in populated areas people shooting at each other results in TONS of calls to 9-1-1. Not this time!) When that didn’t work, he called back to the people in the car and told them he didn’t think we were buying the story.
Stupid Drunk Human Trick 2…. someone in the car decides to call and try the same thing! We didn’t buy the first story, we’re not buying the second, and the phone gives them up by sending their GPS coordinates to the 9-1-1 center! BUSTED! Now there are 2 Sheriff’s cars and 1 CHP unit there, explaining the error of their ways to a carload of what must be some of the dumbest partyers in central California. And somebody went to jail for drunk driving anyway!
The moral of the story? If you lie to 9-1-1 about where you are, be sure your phone is backing you up!
Of course the real lesson here is not to drink and drive! Then you won’t have to try and explain anything!
Have a great weekend, and remember those designated drivers!