Saturday Morning Report - Brace Yourselves

Okay, as weird as the real Friday report was, as the old saying goes, you ain't heard nothing yet. I had the morning from hell. I got up at 6:30, had breakfast at a little restaurant I used to eat at regularly when I lived in Lansing, and drove to the convention center. A cop happened to pull up behind me and we were headed down Michigan avenue for a good 3 miles. No big deal, I wasn't doing anything wrong, I had my seatbelt on, I wasn't speeding, and so forth.

Just as I was pulling into the parking lot to the convention center, the cop puts her lights on and pulls in behind me. She walks up, I give her my license, registration and insurance and she says, "Did you know there's a warrant out for your arrest from East Lansing?" Uh, no, I didn't. I asked what it was for. She said, "I'm not sure yet, I'm waiting for confirmation, but it's civil, not criminal." I could have figured that much, since I knew I hadn't broken the law.

She goes back to her vehicle for a few minutes, comes back to the car and tells me that the warrant is for an abandoned vehicle. I'm completely baffled. Abandoned vehicle? I've never abandoned a vehicle. And it's from over 3 years ago, since I moved out of East Lansing in December of 2002. Then it occurs to me. When I moved to Stanton, I did have an old Buick Skylark that had broken down. I'd bought a new car and was going to just junk it. In fact, I had the junkyard ready to come pick it up the day we were packing the truck.

A guy I had worked with then told me he had a buddy who had an old Skylark himself and thought he might want my car for parts. He brings the guy over, I tell him I'm glad to give it to him and he can do whatever he wants with it - less hassle for me anyway and I don't have to pay to have it towed away. I signed the title over to him, he said he'd be back later on to pick it up, we finish packing, turn in the keys and leave. Never gave it another thought. Apparently, though, the guy never bothered to pick it up, the city had to tow it away and, apparently, this is a really big deal to the city.

So the cop says she has to arrest me and that the bond is $640! $640 for an abandoned vehicle? Are you kidding me? She was quite rude. She wouldn't let me go into the convention center to leave a note for Rob or Greg so they would know why I wasn't there, she wouldn't let me pay $4 to the parking attendant so my car wouldn't get towed - as far as she was concerned, evidently, I was a hardened criminal. So she cuffs me, puts me in the back of the car and takes me to a meeting place where an East Lansing officer met her, I had to change cars, and on to the station. We get there, and the cops there were fairly cool.

I explained to them what must have happened, they let me call my brother to come pick me up, and then they tell me I have to wait in a cell and turn in my belt and my shoelaces so I don't kill myself. By this time, I'm just laughing about the whole thing. What a ridiculous situation to be in, totally out of the blue, and I'm almost looking around for the Candid Camera or for Ashton Kutcher to come out and tell me I've been punked. They come and pick me up, bond gets posted and I have to go back there within 10 days to get it cleared up in front of the judge, which should take about 3 minutes.

So I head back to the convention center, and it's about 10:30 by now. I walk in and Rob is at our booth and he says, "Hey, where ya been?" I said, "You're not gonna believe the morning I had" and I told him the story. He's cracking up. Greg was in doing a seminar, but he comes to the booth at about 11:30 and says, "Man, I was freaking out when I got here and neither of you were here" (Rob was going to be there from 10-12, so Greg had to cover things from 8-10 when he had a lot of other things to do). And Greg says, "Your morning couldn't be as bad as mine, I had a flat tire when I got to my car." I said, "Oh hell no. You aren't even close. You aren't even in the ballpark of what happened to me this morning." So I tell him what happened and he's cracking up too. He said, "Okay, you win. My morning was bliss compared to yours."

So right now I'm about equal parts exhausted, annoyed and amused. I'm going to take a nap and I might write something more substantive when I wake up. Or I might plop my carcass on the couch and become one with a really soft blanket for the rest of the night.

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Ah hahahahahahahaha... that SUCKS!

I don't have anything else to say. Did the private school teachers come back?

By FishyFred (not verified) on 04 Mar 2006 #permalink

That's incredible. And I thought the fact that you made it through an entire day thinking it was the following day was amazing. Your stories are getting exponentially stranger. Expect to wake up tomorrow in a zombie fallout.

Ed, this reminds me of something that could have happened to me...

I worked in Denver for three months one summer, and my first week there, after driving to work with my boss the first two days, he tells me he's got a meeting and that I'll have to drive myself to work on the third day.

No problem I think. Well, I missed my turn to get on the access road I was supposed to take. So, I took the very next turn (onto I-25) and figured I'd take the first exit to get back down on the access road.

The first exit put me no a one way route to a toll road. I had zero change, one 20 dollar bill, and the toll booth was automated. I sat at the booth not knowing what to do, desperately looking for quarters to pay the fee. After 30 seconds, three or four cars start to drive up behind me. Not knowing what else to do, I just drove through the booth. I went one mile before exiting and finding my way back to the right road.

When I got to work, one of the guys there had a friend who worked in Colorado's DMV. He called the guy and they were going to issue a warrent for me too. So I wrote them a $0.50 check. Since it was out of state, I'm sure it cost them more then that to cash it.

Glad you got out prison. :)

Apparently this -- not the arrest part, but the not retitling the junky old car and then dumping it without telling the original owner -- must happen a lot.

It happened to my Dad when he sold our Saab (which had hundreds of thousands of miles on it -- we sold it for a nominal amount and told the buyer it wouldn't run; he thought he could fix it) a little over ten years ago. But I guess we got off lucky because the junkyard owner where the car was dumped (without the owner's permission) traced the ownership back to my Dad and he gave us a call.

We simply titled the car over to the owner, and he used it for parts. No jail time, no arrests, no nothing.

The fact that you got put in handcuffs is outrageous, an absolute abuse of government authority.

Another similar story. I donated a car to a charity for the tax write off--I'm sure you remember those groups that were soliciting donations on AM seemingly every three minutes. Someone comes by and picks up the car and "your vehicular problem disappears." The car had 180K miles so I only wrote off $200 but it was so nice to have someone come pick it up. Three months later I get a letter in the mail saying that I owe some impound yard $1500 because the cops towed my car away from a crime scene. Surprisingly, it was very easy to convince DMV and the impound that I donated the car. So easy in fact, I wonder if it was a scam. Everything seemed legit.Out of curiosity, any idea why the police officer decided to run your plate? Any idea why you didn't get a letter or something else? Going straight to an arrest warrant seems more like, in Jon's words, "an absolute abuse of government authority" than the handcuffs. Police officers simply don't know how a perp is gonna act; they simply need to put everyone they arrest in handcuffs to protect their safety.

By David C. Brayton (not verified) on 04 Mar 2006 #permalink

I suspect that one of the nicest things about having a blog is that you can simmer through things like this knowing that boy, are your readers ever going to be PISSED. Or -- just as good -- AMUSED.

Nabbed by the gendarmes, meeting whacko creationists, learning that science teachers are walking away from teaching evolution to avoid problems, and now UNC beats Duke on Duke's floor.

This really hasn't been your week, has it.....

By flatlander100 (not verified) on 04 Mar 2006 #permalink

Oh. My. God.

Ed, I would have loved to be a fly on the grating that separates you hardened criminals from the law enforcement officers.

That is too funny. No wonder you didn't respond to my emails until just yesterday! :)


flatlander wrote:

Nabbed by the gendarmes, meeting whacko creationists, learning that science teachers are walking away from teaching evolution to avoid problems, and now UNC beats Duke on Duke's floor.

No kidding! On the good side, when I got home I did find an unexpected check in the mail.

Holy mackerel. I abandoned my '72 Plymouth in E. Lansing after I graduated from State. I'd better stay away, in case they've got my name on a list, too ... Oh, wait. That car was registered either to my dad or my now-deceased grandfather. So I'm probably safe from the stormtroopers.

On that charge, anyway.

By Scott Simmons (not verified) on 05 Mar 2006 #permalink

David Brayton asks: "Out of curiosity, any idea why the police officer decided to run your plate?"

Because he was looking for a cheap bust. I bought a new car last December - 2004 Ford, from a Ford dealer. They handled tax and title and transferred the plates from my old 84 Pontiac Fiero to the new car.

A few days later, I'm driving through the University of Wisconsin campus on my way to work and the red and blue lights come on. I pull over, the UW cop looks at my license and asks me why my car isn't a Red Fiero. I explain that I just bought the car, show him some of the paperwork from the transaction and he's satisfied.

As he's leaving, I asked him, "What did I do to attract your attention?" He said, "Nothing, I run every plate I see through the computer, looking for hits." Not wanting to end up in handcuffs myself, I didn't say anything.

Ironically, a couple of days later I see in the paper that legislators are calling for more police officers on Wisconsin college campuses to fight sexual assault. Because I know a couple of members of the UW police department, I didn't write that there are some cops on the UW campus with nothing better to do than to drive around one handed while they type license numbers into their computers and maybe they could be replaced by people more concerned with sexual assault than cheap traffic stops. I expect that Ed got pulled over because another cop had time on her hands and a traffic ticket quota to fill.

Question: if driving while calling on your cell phone is dangerous, how much more dangerous is driving while entering data into and reading responses on a laptop?

So was the restaurant called Alice's? I'm sure there will be "twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was" at the trial.

My goodness, haven't you guys ever listened to a VHF/UHF scanner? (I know, I know, I'm kind of a nerd, but aren't we all?) I usually have my scanner on late at night, especially when I can't sleep and am writing. They most certainly do run every single plate. No matter what the occasion, not just traffic stops, they run the plates looking for hits. It's gotta represent a good 90% of all the radio traffic. It's typically called 10-28/29 (or just 28s and 29s in some jurisdictions), auto registration and warrants. Considering how many they run with the computer, and they still run so many via radio, this constitutes the vast majority of the job...