Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Page Thirty Three - Title (Copcast #148)

It was dark, about 2am and the strobing blue lights were flickering off houses and hedgerows accompanied by the yelp of sirens as George’s Response Car barreled along the road, he was concentrating so intently on his driving that his eyes felt like they were out on stalks. Ahead of him was his colleague Jock in another Response Car but unlike George’s car, this one was letting out a long eerie wail and its headlights were flashing alternately.

They were playing different tunes on their sirens as they ran in formation so that any other road users would have more warning that there were two cars and not one, it is every Response Driver’s nightmare being the follow car and having someone pull out in front of them, not expecting a second vehicle to be there.

Hence George’s intense concentration.

They had both answered a call from the Control Room at around the same time, it was an Emergency or ‘I-Call’ to a woman who was being beaten by her husband. She had managed to lock herself into a bedroom but her husband was trying to break down the door and apparently she had sounded hysterical on the phone. As Jock and George had driven toward the call from different parts of their ground they had converged on the single direct road to the tiny village the call had came from, several miles out into the sparsely populated, rural area of the county with little or no street-lighting.

There was a pair of red tail-lights in the distance and almost nothing else to see apart from a line of traffic islands with a lit bollard on each, to keep traffic travelling in opposite directions from colliding. The road was almost dead straight but it rose and fell in a series of dips as the two Police vehicles gained on the red tail-lights of the other car. The car appeared to be slowing and George saw Jock’s car pull out onto the offside and commit itself to an overtake.

“Oh dear” said George, the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly standing up. He began to brake heavily as he realised that the car wasn’t slowing down enough to allow Jock to regain the nearside before he reached the traffic island. He was either going to have to brake hard and come back in behind the other car or stay offside past the traffic island.

Jock went offside of the bollard, just as a pair of headlights appeared out of the dip ahead of them. Jock’s car hit the oncoming vehicle head on. George fought his own car as he stood on the brakes, and it snaked and weaved to a standstill on smoking tyres, just short of the combined wreckage of two cars mangled into one tangled heap of metal. George’s heart was in his mouth as he and his operator clambered out and ran over to the cars, past glass, metal and wheels lying in the road. “Oh god, no” he kept repeating out loud before remembering to call in the incident on the radio. Then unbelievably Jock and his operator were standing with him, covered in white powder from the airbags, and helping the other driver out of what was left of his car. The car that Jock was trying to overtake never stopped.

Fortunately another unit was able to take the call to the woman being beaten by her husband while the rest of the team helped clear up the mess of Jock’s collision. The young lad innocently driving the car that Jock crashed into was admirably compensated with a replacement. Jock meantime became one of the loudest supporters of the message that it is far better to arrive safely a few seconds later than to not arrive at all. You’re no use to anyone if your incapacitated or dead.

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