Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crime of the Century (Waste Case Division)

GREELEY, Colo., Sept. 15, 2010 - "If you're trying to escape from police, you might want to take a hint from Adam Segura, who learned an important lesson Thursday: Don't steal a police car, especially if you're drunk."
   This eminently reasonable advice appears in the lede of an non-bylined Sept. 11 story posted on the Web site of the Greeley Tribune, the newspaper of record in Greeley, Colo., a township of 98,596 people located forty-nine miles north-northeast of Denver. (This according to Wikipedia, the site containing the scribblings both of fact-loving obsessives and of, well, liars. The population figure comes from 2006 Census Bureau estimates, so we can assume it is correct. Then again, it appears on Wikipedia, so who knows?)
   It all began last Thursday at one in the afternoon, as so many things do. A Greeley police officer with the likably anonymous name of Craig Miller stopped Mr. Segura, who is thirty-two, for allegedly driving 62 mph in a 55 mph zone. In chatting with Mr. Segura, Officer Miller, as the mysterious Tribune reporter puts it, "noticed signs of drinking including glassy eyes, an odor of alcohol on [Mr.] Segura's breath and slurred speech."
   While these symptoms may indicate drinking to excess, they also could be the result of a love-partner conversation gone wrong. After one of those, any sane man would want to hit the road for a bit and might presently find himself driving as fast as he is thinking. So it's difficult to say whether Mr. Segura was, in fact, drunk, because... oh, wait.
   "'The defendant [Mr. Segura] also admitted to officer Miller that he'd drank alcochol,' according to [an] affadavit," according to the Tribune. Is it nitpicky to point out that the affadavit should read, "admitted to officer Miller that he'd drunk alcohol"? (Emphasis mine.) Perhaps so; often, officers of the law are simply too busy, what with catching criminals and so forth, to toy with the niceties of correct grammar.
   Officer Miller quite sensibly handcuffed Mr. Segura's hands behind his back, and then placed him in the back seat of an unmarked police car. He then buckled Mr. Segura's seat belt. (Safety first, even for miscreants.)
   Mr. Segura, showing the ingenuity that often, oddly, is the hallmark of those in the grip of an alcoholic blackout, managed to maneuver his hands, still locked in the handcuffs, around in front of him. He unbuckled the seat belt and climbed into the front seat of the car, unobserved by Officer Miller, who was busy chatting with (or, in police parlance, "questioning") a woman in Mr. Segura's car.
   To the no doubt great surprise of Officer Miller, a backup officer, and possibly the woman in Mr. Segura's vehicle and Mr. Segura himself, Mr. Segura zoomed off in the cop car. Officers chased him down U.S. 34 for roughly a mile, at which point Mr. Segura inexplicably stopped.
   The Tribune neglects to say whether Mr. Segura activated the car's siren, which would have been, like, totally awesome. The Trib does report that Mr. Segura was stopped near the entrance to the Greeley Mall, so it is possible that Mr. Segura had more important things on his pickled brain than blasting sirens, such as stopping at Hot Topic and buying his girlfriend a Tartan skirt and a skull-embossed black t-shirt.
   Mr. Segura is now in the Weld County jail and faces no fewer than twelve charges, which really kind of puts him in the drunken-police-car-stealing hall of fame. Charges include aggravated motor vehicle theft, escape, vehicular eluding (a lovely locution), speeding, no proof of insurance, resisting arrest, obstruction of a police officer, two counts of driving under the influence (he blew a .26, three times the legal limit), and three counts of being a habitual traffic offender.
   This last suggests that this is not the first time Mr. Segura has engaged in vehicular shenanigans (including eluding?). Some people simply aren't meant to drink; others aren't meant to drive; still others aren't meant to drink and drive, lest they wind up in the clink with the book t'rown at 'em.

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