It was a cold, rainy night that four friends set out to make more cheery. It was December 1st and Mattie, Emma, Emily and I were determined to go to a tree lighting event they have here in Newport News, despite the yucky weather. After an hour spent in the rain, walking around and trying to get in the Christmas spirit with fake snow and the lighting of the tree, we decided to head to BJ’s to feast on some delicious and gooey hot cookies. While we scarfed down our cookies, we tried to identify which book/movie/tv show character best represented one another.
For those of you who don’t know my red Jeep Cherokee Sport, let me introduce you to Sheila. This sexy lady has seen many miles, heard many deep conversations, and been apart of many road trips.
It was this night that Sheila also met a Newport News police cruiser, the hard way. As our little girl gang pulled out of the BJ’s parking lot singing to Taylo – BAAMMM. We all gasped and became deadly silent; we had hit another car. I looked ahead of us to see a white police cruiser… did that really just happen?
I am a smart driver, how did I not see them coming despite the five minutes I spent looking at oncoming traffic? I slowly drove behind the police car waiting for their next move, but when they kept slowly inching forward I pulled over into the left turn lane (and yes, I know that you aren’t supposed to do this but I was freaking out). After both of us were stopped, a very frustrated, confused (and handsome I might add ;)) policeman stepped out. He stood there in the street, looking back and forth for what felt like hours between his cruiser and my poor Sheila with four wide-eyed college girls inside. The funny thing was, is that it was very obvious that he really didn’t know what to do next. And here I was, miss goody-two-shoes who had spent that same morning volunteering with the Newport News police department for a Christmas event for some low-income families looking right back at him, just as lost. “Can I get out of my car?”, “I know that when you are pulled over you can’t get out of your car but this is different right?”, “What is he doing?”, “LOL, of course this would happen to me.” were some of the thoughts running through my mind.
Years later, the policeman came over to me and asked if everyone was ok. I tried to diffuse the tension and crack a joke about how this had probably never happened to him before. He shared that he had never been in an accident himself (that explained the hesitation), and before I knew it two more police cars pulled up behind me. “Great, someone is going to think I am some kind drug dealer.” Let’s call the police officer I hit Daniel, he looked like a Daniel. I watched the conversation exchanged between Daniel and his buddy officers in my rearview mirror, they were dumbfounded. After some brief words with each one of the four police officers, I was handed a ticket for an improper lane change. Seeing that I was confused and a young girl, they all proceeded at once to try and mansplain things to me. It was hilarious and we all laughed as we drove away.
Well over a month later, and on the second day of classes I went to court for said ticket. I was not convinced that the accident had been my fault and the fact that my ticket was only a $30 charge said that they hadn’t been either. So despite having absolutely no idea what I was doing, I missed my first class meeting for Ordinary Differential Equations and drove myself to court. I made some friends with the policemen who ran security, asked some people where to go, and funneled my way into a crowd moving into court room B. “Please don’t call my name first. Please don’t call my name first.” I said to myself. I knew that I probably would have to say “guilty” or “not guilty” and I honestly all I had planned to say was “I’m not really sure”. After talking to some others about the accident, I was almost certain it was not my fault, but who was I to challenge four officers? Thankfully two others went before me, but as I walked up to the judge when my name was called my heart was beating out of my chest. Before I knew it, the words “not guilty” came out of my mouth… and I meant it. The judge asked the officer who wrote the ticket if he had gotten a statement from me at the scene, “No sir, I-I-I don’t think so sir.”. The judge then asked if the officer had even witnessed the accident,
“No sir I did not.” I was just glad I was not being grilled. “Well since the other driver is not present, I am dismissing all charges.” I looked around thinking “what?”. I was told I could leave.
On my way out, I asked a friendly policewoman to double check that I did not need to pay any fines, and she said that I was set and told me to have a nice day. I walked past the friends I made at security and waved goodbye with a “have a nice day!”. As I drove away, I think Sheila’s engine was purring pretty proudly.