The reason I remained silent was because of a similar incident about thirty-four years in my past, the only differences being that I didn't wreck and the state trooper who stumbled upon my buddy and I and un-invitedly joined the phony pursuit we had set up to see how fast my new car would go, didn't report it.
Reading some of these posts, you'd think that this woman should be fired and sent to prison after being placed in the stocks in downtown Shallotte for a month.
So let me give you some things to think about it.
1. Yes, law enforcement officers are a tight-knit community and sometimes on a lark, a group of officers will do something among themselves that goes awry.....exactly the same behavior you find among doctors, nurses, military, or any other people who face an incredible amount of stress, risk, and exposure to death in their day-to-day jobs.
2. If this deputy felt she was putting someone else's life in danger, she would never have done it. I doubt she would have tried this at 5:00 PM in rush-hour traffic. She has likely driven fast in training or the performance of her duties, and thought there was little risk in attempting this passing maneuver. But this time, something went wrong....the EXACT same thing that has happened to every single one of you whoever caused an accident in your life. You thought it was routine and no problem, you had done it a thousand times, but something went horribly wrong.
3. She is already paying a severe price. She nearly killed herself and is in the hospital for a long stay. She totaled her brand new car and may face a battle trying to get the insurance company to cover it due to the publicity surrounding this case. She and possibly her fellow deputies will be facing unpaid time off. In her case, it could be as long as her driver's license suspension. If the sheriff has a mind to, she might even be fired.
I don't think she should be fired. Oh, she screwed up ROYALLY, and she'd be lacking about five pounds of butt and be in tears by the time I got through with her, were I here boss, but the bottom line to this entire issue is....she made a big mistake.
Now, think back to your life and tell me that you never made a mistake that you overcame and were all the better for it. I know I did. Nothing related to the fake high-speed chase, but I had another incident early in my career where I came within a hair's width of being told, "Adios." It was entirely my fault. Looking back on it with the wisdom of age, I probably SHOULD have been fired.
When I retired, however, I was held in high esteem and considered one of the best. I would never have reached that point if someone hadn't given me another chance to grow up. Deputy Lewis is about ten years smarter than she was a week ago, and now knows, "Even simple things can go wrong - plan accordingly."
In the absence of other indicators, there is no way that you can look at this one incident and conclude that Lewis has poor judgment. Sure, she did in this one incident, but does that mean the she's a Foxtrot Uniform of no value?
I think not.
I hope she recovers without disabilities, I hope she keeps her job, I hope that she is treated the same way you or I would by the court and DMV....and I hope that the insurance company REFUSES to pay for the car and she gets hit incredibly hard in the wallet to teach her the idiocy of her actions...in this one case.
Hang in there, Lewis. Had you been in a Gran Fury instead of a Mustang, you'd be out on patrol right now. ;)
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