6:15 AM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
Flashing lights in the rearview mirror. “Why am I getting pulled over?” he thinks to himself as he pulls to the side of the road. The officer asks to see his insurance and driver’s license. In a state of confusion and exhaustion after working a 12 hour shift, he first grabs his debit card instead of driver’s license to hand to the officer. Realizing his mistake, he says “Well I guess you don’t need that” and hands him the license instead. The officer looks it over, radios in the license number, and another cop car arrives. The man is asked to step out of his truck and requests a breathalyzer test. The officer refuses to give him one, and notices a pill bottle lying in the seat of the pick-up. He uses this as grounds for searching the truck, so the officers begin searching. Nothing is found, the pill bottle contains nothing but amoxicillin for a sinus infection and the man is asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The tests include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and following the tip of a pen with his gaze. Due to a traumatic brain injury eleven years ago, in addition to having size 14 feet, the man has extremely poor balance and coordination skills, causing him to fail the tests. The officer notes on his report that the man seems confused, shaky, and unable to stay still… Using those reasons as additional grounds for the DUI charge, which are in fact due to his TBI and diagnosed ADHD. The officer places handcuffs on the man and has him sit in the back of the cop car. A call is made from the police department to the man’s wife to come pick up his truck before it’s impounded.
6:41 AM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
The phone rings. She picks it up, confused, and says “Hello?” The woman on the other line says something, but the only words that register are “impounded,” “Highway 81,” and “When can you get there?” Still confused, the girl mumbles “I’m sorry, can you say that again?” It’s repeated, but still not understood. The girl says she can be there in 10 minutes, jumps out of bed, puts on clothes, wakes up her friend to go with her, and heads towards HWY 81. A block away, she realizes she has no idea where she’s going, what she’s looking for, where her husband is, or if he’s okay. The crying begins… Slowly, at first but quickly escalating. She goes towards the police department; the only place she can think to start finding answers. Fortunately there’s a police officer walking from his car to the building. She stops him and, through tears, tries to explain the phone call and begs him for information. He radios in, miraculously knowing what she’s referring to, and tells her to head out east on HWY 81, under the I-44 overpass. This is the opposite direction her husband should be coming home from work, so the hysterics escalate. Through sobs and confusion, she heads east. She passes I-44, but still no sign of her husband or his truck. The phone rings. It’s the police department. They gave her the wrong directions and sent her in the wrong direction. She turns around and heads back through town, hopeful that at least he’s in the part of town he should be, even if she still doesn’t know what is happening.
7:05 AM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
Happy to see her husband’s truck intact (ruling out a horrible car accident), she pulls to the side of the road behind the cop car. Wiping away tears, she steps out of her car and walks toward to officer, noticing her husband in the back of the squad car smiling and mouthing the words “It’s okay, honey! Everything is okay!” The officer explains to the wife that he followed behind her husband after noticing him swerving on the highway. (She would later learn that he had been swerving because he was messing with his iPhone.) She said, between sobs, “He just got off work! There’s no way he could have been drinking!” The officer tells her he’s not concerned with alcohol, necessarily, but believes he may be using pills or other drugs. In disbelief, she fights back the urge to scream, and says “yes” when the officer asks if she wants to speak with her husband. The back door to the squad car is opened, but the man is pushed back down when he tries to get out. He reassures her that everything is okay, she has nothing to worry about, the officer is just doing his job, and the test will come back negative. The door is closed, and the officer tells her he will be kept in jail overnight. “What?!” she shouts. Looking over at her husband through the rear window, she sees he has tears streaming down his face now, as well. They say “I love you” and he is driven to the hospital to take a drug test.
7:20 AM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
The squad car pulls up to the Emergency Room and they go to the front desk to give information to the nurse. The man makes sure he over-articulates his speech, so as to make a point of not being in any way intoxicated. He also makes it a point to be extremely compliant, friendly, and polite. His handcuffs are moved from behind his back to in front of his body because the officer notices how cooperative the man is being. He is allowed to sign his name onto the patient information slip, as opposed to the officer signing it for him (which is the normal protocol). They struggle to obtain blood from his left arm, so they withdraw a majority of blood from his right arm. During the time of the blood test, the man was Mirandized. From the ER, he is moved to the county jail, where he would spend the next 33 hours.
10:20 AM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
The wife and her mother-in-law (MIL) arrive at the county jailhouse in hopes of giving the man his boss’s phone number. Because he would be kept overnight, he would be missing his shift at work. The women reach the doors only to discover they are locked. Her MIL presses the intercom button and asks to speak with her son. Words are exchanged between the MIL and the voice behind the intercom that ultimately lead to the wife and the man’s mother leaving in anger, frustration and disappointment. The only way the man can call his boss is through collect calls. Instead of having the husband call himself (which would charge the boss $9.99/minute), the wife makes the phone call. Fortunately, the boss is understanding and reassures her that his shift can be taken care of. She and her MIL part ways and try to spend the rest of the day as normally and calmly as possible while still preparing themselves for what’s to come the following day.
8:45 AM, Monday, May 16, 2011
The wife and her MIL head to the courthouse in hopes of finding out when the man’s arraignment will be. After receiving no answers for the first half hour, the wife asks the bailiff and he says it will be between 1:00-1:30 PM. The women leave, in disbelief, wondering when this will end and when the will get to see the man again.
1:00-2:00 PM, Monday, May 16, 2011
The wife, MIL, FIL, and step MIL wait in the lobby of the courthouse for the arraignment to begin. The wait is agonizing. The inmates are walked through the hall to the courtroom in groups. With each passing group, the wife dreads having to see her husband in the orange jumpsuit shackled with hand and foot cuffs. With each passing group, she fights back tears and the urge to look up, not wanting to see the face of her sweet husband in that awful situation. When his group is walked down the hall, her eyes meet his. The smile he shows her is bigger and brighter than she can ever remember. He mouths the words “I love you” quickly as he is shuffled into the courtroom. The wife and others there to support the man follow them into the room. After waiting for the judge, attorneys, and bailiffs to settle paperwork and organization problems, the arraignment finally begins. The man already has an attorney, already has signed his OR (release of his own recognizance) papers, and already knows what his bail was, were he to get in trouble with the police before his trial date. So the two hours spent in the arraignment hearing are in vain. The man is never mentioned; he just has to sit through the trial as a formality.
3:21 PM – 5:47 PM, Monday, May 16, 2011
The wife walks to her MIL’s vehicle after the arraignment hearing to call the man’s boss. He would be missing another night’s work because he hadn’t gotten enough sleep to work a 12-hour shift, and they weren’t sure he would be getting released soon enough to make it on time. After the phone call, the wait ensued. They are given no information as to when he would be released, so they are unable to leave the courthouse. They were waiting in the parking lot for two hours and 15 minutes when, finally, the man walked out of the jailhouse doors.
11:20 AM – 1:50 PM, Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The wife and husband, happily reunited, decide (under the advice of the man’s mother) to get an independent drug screening done. Unable to do so in their own town, they drive 30 minutes south, where they can do not one but two drugs tests; the first of which produces immediate results. The man is negative for every drug screened: amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates, marijuana, and benzodiazepines. The second screening is also negative for all areas tested. They fax results to the man’s attorney and head home so he can rest before going into work.
I wish I could provide a happy ending for the story, but so far it is still unfinished. We haven’t heard back from the police department with the results from the drug test they had him take, but given the results from the two we had done, we are certain they will come back with negative results. The charge for DUI-Liquor or Drugs will be dropped. We would like, at some point, to fight for reimbursement of the two days of lost pay. We also want his mug shot taken off of their website and his fingerprints to be taken out of their system. It is also my personal wish (be it realistic or not) that a note be made on the arresting officer’s record of this false DUI charge. Husband should not have to pay for the mistake and oversights made by this officer.
As I posted yesterday, despite having a horrible couple of days… I feel as though this has brought us even closer. I have a newfound pride and respect for my husband that I never even knew was missing. I am inspired by the optimistic way he handled every situation he was faced with. I’m proud to know he remained calm and respectful with every interaction he was faced with, especially knowing his distaste for the police department, in general. He has been able to turn what could have been a traumatic experience into a valuable learning experience.
Thank you, again, for praying with us, supporting us, and believing in my husband’s innocence. As I said yesterday, this time could have been exponentially worse, were it not for our friends and family by our side. So thank you. It means more than I can express.
Mid-morning snack: NONE
Lunch: Bacon and cheese Angus burger with large french fries from McDonald's
Dinner: romaine and spinach salad with feta cheese and grape tomatoes
Dessert: funfetti cake
We have decided to begin tomorrow on a clean slate, fresh start. Day 1. I won't be counting days anymore or continuing my count from before. It's getting harder as time goes on to keep up with the count, and it's really not important anyway. At this point in the cycles, we should be beginning cycle three, but given how the past two weeks (and honestly even longer than that) we haven't been following the diet, we've decided to begin back at day one, cycle one.. Starting tomorrow. The first fitness challenge for the Biggest Loser competition I'm participating in is a miniature Army PT test. We had to see how many push-ups and sit-ups we can do in a minute, each, and how long it takes us to walk/run a mile. I performed these three tasks today and was highly disappointed in my results. My mile of interval walking/jogging took 16 minutes and 13 seconds. I could only do 13 sit-ups in a minute and 25 push-ups in a minute. I know these results are, in part, due to my lack of nutrition I've been giving my body lately, and also the lack of water I've been drinking. I truly desire to be back on track, and I know I can be so much better. Here's to a fresh start!