Wrap Up with Deputy Chief McGill
Someone once told me: never pickup calls with the caller id BLOCKED; it’s hard to break old habits.
Today my phone showed several incoming calls like this; why hadn’t I heard them?
I’ve got lousy cellphone service here at home, which at one time I thought of as a drawback. It would be hours before I realized that the phone was simply silenced. Meanwhile Deputy Chief McGill had left a message and a callback number; he was ready to talk about his investigation of Sunday’s bike crash on Coast Hwy, the incident where the officers insisted I delete photos from my phone.
Probably like D.C. McGill, I was eager to wrap this up before the weekend. I was driving home from a 4 year-old’s birthday party up on Newport Coast and as everything sinks in I realize that I should return his call before I get home and have no service. I decide to park in Fashion Island to make the call. Bad decision — Friday night is not the best time to pull into the mall to make a quick call, especially when the parking lot off San Miguel Drive is all torn up; I had to negotiate my way through traffic just to park.
In these few minutes I have time to sweat what’s just ahead with McGill’s call. I also have time to reflect on a story one old friend at the birthday party was telling about a friend of his, in another city, who tangled with the police and eventually had to move to a different city because of all the retaliation that occurred. Surely this wouldn’t happen to me, but, less dramatically, what if the officer denied my version of events. What then?
I put these dark thoughts from my mind and made the call. It rang 6 times.
D.C. McGill begins at the beginning, restating what he’s been up to the past few days, then he gets right to the point. He was able to identify the officer involved and he was quick to admit his actions. Relief spreads over me. He continues, “I can’t get into the details of the personnel issues, but this will be dealt with. Plus I’ve taken steps to refresh every other officer’s understanding of a citizen’s right to photograph the scene of an investigation.”
I’m ready to move on and I sense the same from McGill. “I have photographs of the scene and if you can wait till Monday I’ll have someone get them to you.” Thanks, I accept; that would be nice closure.
Finally, I want to know as some of you have inquired – what were the circumstances of the crash and how serious were the injuries? It was a left-hook from an eastbound vehicle that tried to cross backed-up westbound lanes on Coast Hwy at Iris northbound; the motorist didn’t see the cyclists approaching. Just as David Huntsman deduced, the cyclist was hit in the front, perhaps sustaining a head injury, that’s why there was blood on the street next to the t-shirt; this also explains the damage I saw to the front of the bicycle. The good news: the injuries weren’t serious.
We wrap up. We’re both positioning this as a learning experience.
We say goodbye. I’m greatly relieved.
Barbara is sitting next to me in the car and as I start to share details of the call, she interrupts; “I heard everything he said. You’re lucky, this wouldn’t happen in New York City. It wouldn’t happen in a lot of cities.”
I look forward, more so than any other time, to Lt. Lu’s bike collision report next month at the Bicycle Safety Meeting.