Thursday, June 28, 2012

I've gotta climb up on my soapbox

I was sitting in traffic Tuesday evening after work. I was northbound on High Street just outside Dublin. I was sitting under the 270 overpass, checking my email.  I noticed movement to my left, and saw a guy jogging down the street.  This area is very popular for walkers, joggers and bikers.  This jogger was very ambitious and sprinted up the bricked embankment leading up to the bridge supports.  When he got to the top he turned around and sat down. I was thinking he was probably tired and hot, it was hot and dry here for too many days.  It appeared he looked at me, looking at him, and, in a very Jason Bourne sort of way, he lifted up his feet and slid back into the shadows.  This caught my attention. Since I was sitting in the perfect spot to see him, I watched him stand up, turn his back to me, and disappear behind one of the steel i-beam supports.  Up until this point I didn't think he had done anything too unusual, but he was clearly hiding behind the i-beam now.  I immediately thought shooter.  We had a shooter in the Columbus area a few years ago, and then I thought maybe he has an ex wife he is stalking, and is looking for a concealed point from where he can shoot her as she travels home from work. My mind was racing... I remember hearing sirens above me on 270, but that is not unusual, so I hadn't paid much attention to them.

About that time I see a police officer emerge, from the vegetation at the bottom of the side of the embankment.  Within a couple seconds a second officer emerges.  Ah, now I see why he is hiding....  One officer proceeds north on High Street into an under street tunnel, while one is walking south towards me.  I am in the north bound lane, and the center of three lanes moving north, with a left and right turn lane beside me.  I roll down my window lean part way out, and yell "he's up there" while pointing to the spot where I had saw him hide a few seconds before.  The officer asked "he's up there" and I yelled yes, he's up there, again pointing to the spot where he stood.  The officer hesitated only a moment before continuing to walk south, away from the hiding man, looking everywhere but where I had indicated.  GRRRRR

The traffic light turned green and I needed to proceed north.  I started to go on home deciding I had done my best to tell the officer where he was, only to be ignored, but then I decided the moron obviously was going to let him escape.

I dialed 911 and when the dispatcher answered, I said "you have officers at High and emerald parkway in Dublin" she said yes we do.  I asked if they were pursuing a man wearing camo pants.  She said yes they were.  I told her I had just watched him climb up into the bridge support and was hiding behind the third I-beam, on the north west corner.  She asked which side of the river he was on, and I told her the High Street side.  This overpass also crosses the scioto river a couple hundred yards to the east of where he was hiding.  She asked my name, what I was driving and where I was at.  I told her I was turning around and heading back to the overpass.  It had probably been 3-4 minutes between the time I had left the spot where I saw him, and the time I got back there.  By this time more police cars were arriving. 

The 911 dispatcher had told me to stay in my car until approached by an officer, but since none were immediately paying attention to me, I honked my horn at an officer nearby.  I told him I was the person who had just called 911 and I had saw the man hide behind the 3rd i-beam, pointing to the spot.  He walked away from me, so I got out of my car and followed him.  I again tried to tell him I saw him hide behind that third i-beam - right there (pointing).  Again he moved away from me. I kept following him and he kept walking away from me, pistol in one hand, and his other hand on his ear, I assume listening to the 911 dispatcher, or someone else.  I tried one more time and again he backed away from me.  He finally came over to me and said I was free to leave.  What???  I decided they were all morons.  I had an overwhelming urge to kick off my wedge sole sandals, and scamper up that damn embankment myself to drag him out.  I was very upset that no-one seemed to be listening to me, or attempting to check out what I had told them.  I looked up and saw officers leaning over the overpass above with rifles, surveying the area, looking for the felon.  More and more officers were arriving, several standing on the sidewalk looking up at the area under the overpass, but not one officer making a move to drag his raggedy ass down from there.  I again had an overwhelming urge to scramble up that embankment to where he had hidden, but decided it would only get me arrested, and possibly lose my job, because of getting arrested, so I got back in my kia and left.  By that time there was a chopper circling overhead, and more sirens blaring in the distance. 

I couldn't go north towards home, because they had stopped traffic at the intersection, so I had to travel south back into Dublin, get on 161, cross the river, and go home via roads on the other side.

I read that he had got caught robbing a home earlier in the day, and that a cruiser had spotted him on 315 nearby.  I heard there was about a short chase down 270, when the felon suddenly stopped his car, jumped out, and ran down the embankment.  I didn't see him emerge from the grass because I wasn't paying attention.  I didn't see him until his movement caught my eye closer to me.  At the time I first saw him he was jogging.  He was not running as if the hounds of hell were in pursuit.

Sorry to say the felon got away.  I feel PRIMARILY because the first officer did not timely, nor assertively take action on the information I tried very hard to provide him.  And I actually tried  TWICE! to interact with the officers, and neither time did I feel they took me serious.  I have to say my respect for those two officers is zero.  I understand there was a lot of adreneline flowing, minds racing, fear, whatever, BUT had the first one headed my message, the felon would have been caught within minutes, instead of getting away.  I heard they used dogs, and infared scanning to search for him.  I wonder what happened to the old fashioned method of hands on?  I assume they actually wanted to apprehend him or they wouldn't have risked a broken ankle scrambling down that embankment after him. 

I have almost gotten over my anger and disappointment that I tried to make a difference and couldn't.
I haven't overcome my contempt for the two officers who belittled my information and validity of my words.
I understand that it isn't safe to approach a felon who could possibly be armed, no matter who you are.
I know he wasn't a murderer, rapist or serial killer...
And I don't feel all officers are cookie cutters of these two.  I know good cops. 

But I'm not over it yet. I'm definitely not over it...