Previous Post: The Policeman’s Nest (Part 1)
The scene was an absolute mess with car-parts littering the street for a 100 metres. I was a bit dumbfounded as I stood and looked at the dead man in front of me. I remember checking his body for life just in case there was some signs that he may have been alive. It was pointless as I could tell just by looking at him that he was well gone. He was half in and half out of the drivers window and was acknowledging nothing as my now frail and emotional voice tried to get some response from him.
The driver had been in a queue of vehicles heading in the other direction. The car I was chasing cut the corner and travelled onto the other side of the road and straight into the path of the oncoming cars. The driver of the vehicle at the front of the queue managed to swerve up onto the pavement and miss the fleeing car but the person I was looking at was in the next car in line and wasn’t so lucky and felt the full force of the speeding car. He didn’t stand a chance and as far as I was concerned, I was responsible for his death. I wasn’t the bullet that killed him but I pulled the trigger on the gun. I remember feeling sick to the stomach, not because of the scene that confronted me, I had seen a lot worst, but because of the enormous amount of guilt I felt for what had happened.
Once I got myself together I went to check some of the other vehicles involved. The fleeing car had nothing left of the front with the engine lying about 50 metres away. I have no idea how, but the driver and his passenger survived, as usual, and were picked up by other staff. He was wanted on warrant and was disqualified from driving which is why he ran, the trivial nature of the offences just made the feeling even worst.
As myself and partner did what we could to protect the scene and obtain witnesses, other police staff started to arrive. Because we were involved in the crash a senior officer was called to take control of the scene and we were confined to the back of a police car. It was an unusual moment in my career, I had just killed somebody with a decision I had made but that wasn’t the focus of the questions I was getting. It wasn’t the police officers fault as they were just doing their job, but I remember feeling, there’s a man dead here and all you are worried about is at what point did I turn the blue lights and siren on and how close did I get to the fleeing vehicle. All they were interested in was whether it was categorised as a police chase or not…myself and my partner were not in their thoughts as they were just scrambling to limit the paperwork that they may have had to do. For me it was a police chase, I looked at the fleeing driver, he looked at me and he knew I was coming for him, once he saw me turn the car he decided to go and that resulted in the crash.
It’s semantics really but my point is that we were treated as police officers and not victims involved in the crash as others were. We received no support and I sometimes think that I would have liked to have had the chance to speak to the family of the dead man. They might not of wanted to speak to me but it would have been nice to have been given the choice.
We went back to work the next day and moved on…but did we…I have now realised that I never moved on…I never moved on from that incident and I never moved on from the death of my father in law. I stuck them in a draw in my head and when I wanted to I pulled them out whenever I hated myself and wanted to self-destruct. I locked those incidents away alongside everything else I had done in my life that I regretted. Why do I do that…well I’ll tell you why….you probably won’t understand…but I do it because “subconsciously” I don’t like it when things are going well, I don’t like it when people say nice things about me, I don’t like it when people do things for me…when good things happen it makes me uneasy…its as if to say “this shouldn’t be happening to me”. My mindset has dictated to how I react to those sort of things and if things are going well, then for some reason I pull all those files from the cabinet and think about all those negatives events in my life just so I come back to a where I think I should be.
I left the uniform branch shortly after that crash but I had filed it under police with all the other incidents that had left an imprint in my head. Its funny but it’s those negative thoughts that for me seem to be the easiest to recall, the filing cabinet is at the forefront of my mind and when I want to think about good things its like I have to move it out-of-the-way to get to them. Sometimes I ask myself why I can’t recall a lot of the good things in my life, as easy as I can the bad ones…..the reason is because I’m addicted to thinking about negative stuff, its become in-grained in me over the years and as a result I have had little time for retrieving those happy times, events and people. They have been locked away with a key and sometimes that key has been hard to find.
In 2002 I joined the CIB and returned to an area of policing where I felt comfortable an area where we all knew what we had to do and got on with our jobs. It was that one time that popped into my head when the psychiatrist asked me “When were you last happy in the job Mike” (see Who’s in the Mirror). I was happy in the job and my personality came across that way, but internally I was in self-destruction mode and I was chipping away at my personal life to the point where my marriage was about to fall over…..I was doing it again !!!
Categories: My Story 2016