Just Like O.J.

So, my dad's driving to work one, um let's say Thursday morning in August of 2002, and he's running late. He works at Precision Machine Works, which is a company that makes parts for Boeing; he has worked there for over 20 years now. Anyway, the schedule he's on now has him starting work at 5:00 in the morning, so he's always going to bed around 8:30. Needless to say, this curfew gets broken once in a while and he wakes up tired in the morning the next day. On this particular day, he was running late. In his car, he found his speed increasing well over the 35 mile per hour speed limit through the city limits of Tacoma as he's trying to reach the freeway before it starts to get flooded with traffic. Less than a mile from the on-ramp, my dad sees a police car following him in his rearview mirror. Panic instills in his heart as he gently but firmly slows his vehicle to an acceptable speed. He fears he is busted and will arrive later to work than he already is.

At a stoplight, no more than 50 yards from the on-ramp, he sees a second police car behind him. Then, a third. Then, a fourth. Now, he knows he is in trouble for more than speeding, but he does not figure expired tabs would warrant such a hoopla. As soon as the light turns green, my dad slowly accelerates his vehicle. However, the cops turn on their sirens and lights and stop my father in his tracks. On the bull horn, one of them yells assertively "Stick your arms out of your car." My dad turns his head around to see all of the policemen with their guns drawn, behind their open car doors, pointed at his head. He meekly sticks his arms out of his open window, but they don't reach out too far. They tell him to exit his vehicle. As soon as my dad pulls his arms in to unlatch his seat belt, they yell "Get your arms out of your vehicle where we can see them! Now!" He unlatches with Superman-speed and bolts his arms back out of his window. Slowly, with his knee, he tries opening his car door, but the handle won't move. He takes a chance with his left hand, and walks out of his car.

"Put your hands on your head!" "Cross your legs!" "Bend your knees!" "Head down!" "Turn around!" Different cops are sprouting orders all at once, and my father is left in an uncomfortable position on the pavement, with a half dozen other cars sitting and watching the action. They handcuff him, stick him in the back of their police car, and have them wait a half hour until a woman arrives to identify him.

Evidently, some guy, who fit my father's description, with slightly darker hair and a similar vehicle, pulled a gun on his girlfriend that morning, and left the scene of the crime without police intervention. The woman joined the policemen, relieved my father of any blame, and went back home. I really hope this is on the next episode of Cops, when they talk about Tacoma ... again.

All I keep thinking about is: What if my father had not stopped for the police men? What if he had gotten on that freeway, headed north on I-5, and drove all the way to Canada? To Freedom!!! What's even funnier: my father drives a white Ford Bronco. He would have been all over the news, all over the country, all over a misunderstanding. Just like O.J.