LAPD makes it hard to be a Good Samaritan

I don’t know about other drivers, but when I see something on the roads or on the freeway that may hinder another driver, I call and try to help out. Like, last Sunday, as I drove from Azusa to Orange to meet up with my buddy Marc, Trin and I hit a slowdown on the 57 caused by bags of what looked to be dry cement, which was flying out in clouds over the freeway over both the 57 and the 60’s lanes going onto the 57. So I called CHP’s Traffic Management Center (which I memorized while I was a reporter; my apologies if you guys are tired of hearing me report stuff in the roadways) to report it. I don’t know if it helps any, but I sure would want someone to do the same for me.

Well, tonight, as I left work for home, I witnessed an accident. See, there seems to be a magic speed at which you have to drive in order to get on the freeway without getting stopped at least twice. I’m talking about the two stoplights on Laurel Canyon Boulevard right before you get on the 101 North. Naturally, since I was in a rush to get home, I hit the red light right before the overpass. If I’d gotten lucky, I would have hit the red right before the freeway, right? Oh well. Well, as soon as my red turned green, both me and the burgundy Mitsubishi sedan in front of me must have both though “ooh! The light ahead is still green!” However, I’m used to the light and as soon as it turned yellow, I was like, crap. Oh well, I’m no jerk, I’ll just wait for the next green.

Oh, but that was not the case for the sedan. He decided to make a run for it, just as a white Mercedes began to make its way into the intersection. Crash, bam — where’s your insurance ma’am?

Sitting at my red light, I watched the cars sit for a moment, then begin to spill their occupants. Smoke rose a little bit from the crunched sections of engine. I immediately reached for my phone and hooked my earpiece over my ear to call 911. As we all know, when you call 911 from a cell phone, you immediately get CHP. However, I knew that Laurel Canyon was not their jurisdiction, so I expected to get transferred to LAPD.

What I didn’t expect was waiting what felt like 15 minutes on hold. Sure, no one was injured in the accident and the LAPD has bigger fish to fry. I understand. But I’m trying to do my civic duty and tell you what happened.

By about the time I got to Woodland Hills, someone finally picked up and took down what I had to say about the accident. I gave them my name and cell phone number just in case.

Now, why would I wait 15 minutes to make a report about an accident involving people I don’t know? Well, for one, it makes a blog post. :) And the main reason why is because you never know who might get helped. I once did the same thing for a motorcyclist in Orange County, and my insistence that a truck hit him rather than the other way around ensured that he wasn’t blamed for the accident. I got a nice thank you note, too, which I didn’t expect. But I also was returned the favor — someone else (an off-duty cop, no less) witnessed an accident I was in and vouched for it not being my fault.

So, you never know.

One thought on “LAPD makes it hard to be a Good Samaritan

  1. Karl Dahlquist

    This isnt true anymore. With E911 the GPS coordinates on your phone are matched to the city where you are located in, and the call directed to the local agency.

    If you were say, in the middle of Van Nuys, the call should be routed straight to LAPD.

    But since you were next to the fwy, you would naturally get CHP. (And I am not sure if SoCal is fully implemented with this yet….we are always last it seems)

    >>> As we all know, when you call 911 from a cell phone, you immediately get CHP.

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