My husband and I had a date day on Saturday. He was in town for a brief 20 hours, and our son was on a camp out. We decided to go to the lake and just relax. As we were walking to our car to leave the lake, a woman in an Expedition cut us off in a cross walk. My husband yelled: “Thanks a lot. People are only walking here!” She didn’t listen or seem to care. I also noticed that she had a little girl in the back seat.
As we were driving back home (on a very windy road), we got behind the same Expedition. The woman driver was ALL OVER the road. She was weaving from side to side. She was driving into on-coming traffic. She was driving 65 mph and then would put on her brakes to 20 mph (when there wasn’t a curve in the road). My husband said that he thought she was drunk and that we should call 9-1-1. I mentioned that there was a child in the car, and my husband was even more adamant about calling the police.
Neither one of us take calling the police lightly. We have a friend that is a police officer and we know that 90% of calls are not really emergencies. When I did dial 9-1-1, we believed that we were behind a woman that had been drinking and was a danger to herself, her child, and other drivers.
My husband has gotten behind drunk drivers in the past. Whenever he has called, the operator has always told him to NOT FOLLOW the driver and to report where they were and drive on. However, today the operator did not do that. She stayed with me and asked lots of questions about the driver and where we were. She asked that I stay on the phone until an officer arrived.
The driver pulled off the windy road onto a busier, main road. She turned the corner and stopped, then pulled back out into traffic (just missing cutting off another car). She then pulled over for about 5 minutes. I told the operator that, and she assured us that an officer was close by. When she did pull back out, she drove about a mile down the road and into a 7-11 convenience store parking lot. She didn’t pull up to a gas pump or to a parking spot. She stopped her car in the middle of the lot. She just sat there with her brakes on.
The operator asked if we saw an officer yet, and we noticed that a Sheriff was pulling in. We had pulled into a parking space on the other side of the lot and pointed to the Expedition that we had called about. The Sheriff put on his lights and approached the car. After a moment, the woman stepped out of the car and had what appeared to be a heated conversation with the officer. My husband and I thought that the officer would be asking her to walk a line or say her ABCs backwards any moment. Just then, a woman Sheriff arrived and a man in another car. It appeared to either be a friend or her husband. We thought that maybe she had called him to help her.
After a few moments, the woman Sheriff came over to us. “Are you the folks that called in the drunk driver? Well, it turns out that she isn’t drunk. She apparently was yelling at her children and having problems with them. She hasn’t been drinking.”
Any parent knows that children can act up in the car. I remember the days of my Mom saying: “If I have to pull this car over…” If this woman was having problems with her kids, she NEEDED to pull the car over. We clearly saw her driving head-on into the other lane. We saw her going off to the shoulder. We saw here speed up and slam on her brakes. All of these were clear signs of a drunk driver. This lady needed to pull over and take care of the situation, not endanger others from her lack of parenting skills.
So, my husband and I left the 7-11 parking lot and went on our way. We thought that we were helping the community by getting a drunk driver off the road. Nope. We were witnessing the lack of parenting in the world, once again. For goodness sakes. If your kids are acting up, PULL THE CAR OVER! Otherwise, someone might think you have been drinking and call for help. Man, did I feel stupid.