The following is an expanded version of Item 7 on my “Top 10 Unique Things I’ve Done? list:

Working for the medical examiner’s office does not give me carte blanche to ignore posted speed limits, and I certainly don’t feel entitled to special treatment simply because of my employer. Although when it’s 3 a.m. and there are very few people on the road, I like to get where I’m going and get back home.

There is no written rule that prevents an officer from giving a ticket to any official—only individual discretion. Fortunately for me, every officer I’ve been stopped by has seen fit to let me off the hook—possibly because they’ve worked with our office before or possibly because they expect to need us again.

So far, the few times I have been pulled over in my own car, I have managed to avoid a speeding ticket. I’ve never been arrogant enough to point out where I work. I don’t ever plan on testing out the phrase “Do you know who I am?? as I’m sure the consequence would be rather expensive. Luckily, police officers are trained to be observant and not one has failed to notice my badge as I produced my driver’s license.

Most of the times I’ve been stopped or nearly stopped took place in the agency car. Ordinarily, a patrol car will come up behind me, see the markings on the vehicle, and decide to pick on someone else. Other times, I’ve been pulled over and the officer has actually apologized for making me stop. I’ve even been stopped in a rural area I was traveling through just because the officer was curious about what kind of scene I was going out on.

Not all stops have gone that easily. On one occasion, I was stopped in broad daylight by a state policeman who clocked me at 17 mph over the limit. In my defense, the location was a 6 lane divided highway, and I couldn’t have been going more than 2 mph faster than the group of cars I was traveling with. I can only assume that my failure to brake as everyone else did at the sight of the patrol car in the center median made me stand out or appear arrogant.

After pulling me over, the trooper came up to my window and asked, “Where’s the fire??

It was all I could do to avoid the first smartass remark that popped into my head—“713 Morgan Blvd.?

Instead, I opted for playing nice. I politely informed him that the detectives at the scene asked me to get to the scene as quickly as possible.

His response was, “What’s the rush? They’re dead, aren’t they??

I further explained, with less politeness, that a suicide had been committed in the parking lot of a public building. As such, the department working the scene was eager to remove the body before people began to show up for work.

He asked me to slow it down and returned to his patrol car. I responded by accelerating away from the side of the road as quickly as possible to make up for lost time. I’ve since forgotten his name, but for several months I remembered it—patiently waiting for him to report a traffic fatality so I could be sure to obey all traffic laws en route to his location.


6 Responses to “”

  1. April 25, 2005 at 8:35 am

    I’m sure that would have been a cold dish for him. 🙂

  2. April 26, 2005 at 8:40 am

    “What’s the rush? They’re dead, aren’t they?” OUCH!

  3. April 26, 2005 at 4:07 pm

    You won’t like what I have to say – but as someone who was permanently injured by a nurse who was late getting to work, I say drive the speed limit! Mistakes are made by everyone, and the faster you are going, the worse the injuries are. Would you want to be responsible for someone living with daily pain?

  4. April 28, 2005 at 8:25 pm

    Here, here, Annie! I’m a paramedic and I can tell you that in NONE of the counties near me are ME officials allowed to respond emergently to a retrieval. In fact, in my county, the local ambulance squad is called to retrieve the body and transport it back to the morgue and the call MUST be handled NON-EMERGENTLY.

    Different strokes for different parts of the country. It’s just the opposite here. We can respond emergently, but we can’t use paramedics. I wish we could. They are experts at body handling and nine times out of ten they are already at the scene.

    A Douglas

  5. April 30, 2005 at 12:58 pm

    …why do people not give all there information in a post.. I don’t understand..
    I would think the post more valid or something…
    still enjoy your writing.. weekly..
    and now more with this controversial subject..
    I say use your head and go the speed limit that you feel you can be most safe at….
    whatever that speed maybe…posted or not..

  6. 6 Dani
    May 10, 2005 at 2:35 pm

    In ten years of delivering babies I certainly had my share of screaming in to the hospital- flashers on since I don’t have the luxury of flashing lights- and I have never even been pulled over. They must have run my plates or something and decided to leave me alone, there just can be no other explanation. However, I’m always en route to the hospital, not all over the city like you are, so it would be easier to figure out…

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