Witnesses never get the credit they deserve. As officers, we know the value of a person stopping to be a witness at a traffic collision or a crime scene. The information they provide can be invaluable and can truly be the missing piece of the puzzle.
The other night I handled a felony hit and run involving a DUI driver and a pedestrian, who later died at the hospital.
After being struck, the pedestrian was left in the middle of the street as the driver took off. There were a couple of witnesses who chased the suspect about a mile down the road to his home. They called the police and stood by for officers to arrive.
The suspect was later located and arrested. After I finished the call, I was grateful the witnesses had followed the suspect. If it hadn’t been for them, we might never have found the bad guy.
People don’t realize how important their information can be. Without them, it’s a puzzle that can never be solved.
My hat is off to those witnesses from that night. I’m glad you got involved to help. I’m sure the victim’s family would agree.
Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415. His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for more than 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. BehindTheBadgeOC.com shares some of his columns.