By Craig Hastings
Okay, I’ve been asked about this incident enough times now over the past two weeks that it makes sense to tell the story here. A couple of weeks ago while I was home for lunch I received a phone call from someone telling me about a male and female walking on Rt 36. It was pouring down rain and the caller told me that these two people appeared to be intoxicated and had done some minor criminal damage to private property as they stumbled down the sidewalk. I was getting ready to leave my house at the time of the call and therefore not too far from where these two people were last seen. It wasn’t hard to find them, after all how many people would be staggering down Rt 36 in the pouring down rain over the noon hour?
When I found them they were in the parking area of one of the auto dealerships clinging onto one another. It didn’t take me long to figure out that even though it appeared they were both a bit out of it, the male was having to completely support the female as they stumbled about the parking lot. I watched this go on for about ten minutes before they decided to continue their travels eastbound on Rt 36. I hadn’t intervened at this point because from past experience I knew very well the sight of me in a police car might escalate the situation and I had no idea what their final destination might be.
Me staying out of the situation ended when I saw the female fall in an adjoining parking lot and the male struggle to get her back on her feet. I called dispatch to have them send an ambulance to my location. And as I suspected, as soon as I exited my police car the male subject started in on me. All of the usual rhetoric, “Why are you here”, “Leave us alone”, “Get out of here”, and a whole bunch of things I won’t say here. Fortunately the ambulance crew was quick to respond. It was obvious to all of us there that the female subject needed medical intervention. However, when one of the ambulance crew insisted that the female was going to be transported to an area hospital, the situation worsened quickly.
As an ambulance crew member attempted to take control of the female subject the male subject became violent and attempted to stop the efforts of the ambulance crew. It was at this point I put myself between the male subject and the ambulance crew member. Well, the fight was on. This guy and I were at it pretty good, in the rain, on a concrete driveway, and I had definitely underestimated how much fight this intoxicated guy had left in him. With the help of another TPD officer we managed to get handcuffs on this guy but not before I was bleeding from one knee and smashed knuckles on one hand. Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene and helped get this guy loaded and transported to the Douglas County Jail. All of this took place on the driveway of the Subway Restaurant drive through. I’ve been answering questions about it ever since. So there you have it. Yes, in Tuscola, on a rainy day, over the lunch hour, and on Rt 36. And yes, these things do go on even in Tuscola. I didn’t know either one of these people. Had I known them, probably I could have talked my way out of a physical confrontation.
So what am I still doing fighting with intoxicated people at the age of sixty-five? My answer to that is; because no one else wants to anymore. Recruiting police officers in this country of the quality citizens expect is a difficult if not nearly impossible task today. My day will come. I’m just not sure yet when that might be.