Cop Hits Cop


This morning I went in my power wheelchair to the Downtown Farmers Market. After purchasing beets, squash, zinnias and gladiolas, I headed home. About 11:25 a.m. I was sitting in the bike path headed east at a red light at the intersection of Water and Townsend Streets when there was a major explosive KABAM as two cars struck.

I looked up and saw that the light on Water Street was still red. A Syracuse Police Department patrol car coming down Water Street headed west had just run the red light. There were no lights, sirens, high speed or any other indication that the SPD patrol car was responding to an emergency.

The patrol car had struck a black four-door sedan that was traveling north on Townsend Street. It spun the car around 180 degrees, The driver—a middle-aged, overweight, balding man wearing a white shirt and black pants—got out and went over to the patrol car. When the driver turned back toward his car, a badge and gun were visible at his waistband.

The patrol car driver moved his vehicle over to the curb. Almost immediately, another patrol car arrived from the north on Townsend Street. This second patrol car pushed the black car out of the intersection, then someone picked up most of the debris from the middle of the intersection.

Yesterday I saw a report on the Malaysian jetliner site in the Ukraine where they were lamenting the absence of any independent forensic researchers and the fact that pieces of debris were being removed from the crash site, thereby making it impossible to piece together the facts of what had happened.

What happened at the corner of Townsend and Water Streets this morning will depend entirely on the verbal reports of the two men involved.

And, of course, the innocent bysitter, me.

When I left the scene, two uniformed police officers, the fellow with the badge and gun, and two other men were standing in a group talking. There did not appear to be any personal injury. On the black car, the front and back passenger-side doors were both crushed in. Parts of a fender, some grillwork and other material had been in the intersection.

Imagine if the police officer who ran the red light had hit a car driven by your mother.

Later the Post-Standard, following my lead, reported that the patrol officer in the marked car was driving distracted–he was on his computer–and was not ticketed. There was no personal injury; the patrol car was still drivable; the unmarked car was seriously damaged and had to be towed.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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