And now, the conclusion of the final chapter from Detective Mark Hussey. From last time:
"Mark, it's Elliot again, I called everybody, no one can come. I need you."
"Are you shittin' me? I told you, I'm plastered, and I got a house full of guests."
"Look, this won't take long, you don't have far to go. Come on down and be careful."
Before I could thing of anything to say the phone went dead. Holy shit, I thought. I didn't even know if I could get my car out.
(If you haven't read part 1, it's here:)
I fumbled around for my car keys and some shoes. I pulled on an official looking windbreaker and an LPD baseball cap and headed out the door. Maybe they wouldn't even miss me.
The cold night air against my face did little to sober me up. I slid into the driver's seat of the 1982 Plymouth Firebird and turned the key. The engine roared to life, and I carefully backed from the carport into the alley behind my house. When I got to the end of the alley, I turned north and headed downtown to the police department. As I proceeded, I noticed a sign as I passed pointing south in the direction I was not going saying "One Way."
Oh shit. I'm going the wrong way. Oh well, no traffic and I'm almost there.
Besides, this was a short cut. I pulled Into the lot on the east side of the building and made my way through the back door. Once inside the warm building, I seemed to even drunker than before. Lt. Elliot met me at the door and told me the prisoner and the officer were already in the BA room and for me to go on in. As I said, "Okay," Elliot just looked at me and rolled his eyes.
When I got to the 8 by 8 room, Officer Neil Kessler was standing inside with his handcuffed prisoner sitting in the chair next to the machine. We greeted each other and as I looked at Neil, we both knew we'd better not say anything else. It took me a moment to get my bearings and to remember how to operate the machine. I turned the power switch to the "ON" position and unwrapped a small mouthpiece. Officer Kessler had already completed the DWI questionnaire, I was grateful for that.
As the machine hummed and warmed up, I slowly explained how the test worked and what the driver must do to give a proper sample. The prisoner listened intently, and when I looked up, I saw him leaning over, looking at me suspiciously.
"You look like you been drinkin,' he said.
"Oh no, not me I'm on medication," I said proudly, amazed that I had thought of it.
"What for?" he asked.
"Nerves," I said.
He seemed satisfied with the answer. The green light on the machine flashed on indicating that the Intoxilyzer 2000 was ready. The prisoner stood up, and taking the mouthpiece tightly between his teeth, blew until his face looked like a rotten strawberry. It was fun. Sometimes they blew so hard they passed out.
As we waited the several minutes for the 2000 to process and trap the sample, other officers and prisoners came in from various gatherings and fracases in the city. When the sample was processed, it indicated that the driver had blown a .12, which in those days was two thousandths of a point above the legal limit in the State of Florida. The man was shuffled off to a holding cell, where he would spend the next six hours.
As I was putting away the machine and preparing to leave, I had a brainstorm. "Wonder how drunk I am?"
I re-readied the instrument and removed another mouthpiece from its package. When the light turned green, I blew into the small tube as hard as I could, watching for the "STOP" light to illuminate. Once it did, I waited patiently for the results. When the reading became visible I couldn't believe my eyes: .28
Not bad. I locked up the BA room and waved to the LT. as I passed through the Sergeant's office. "Thanks!" he yelled as I was filling out my overtime slip.
When I got back home, it was after midnight, and the party was in full swing. I got another beer and noticed one of the cops talking to my cocker spaniel, Ziggy.
No one ever asked where I had gone. Time stands still when you're drinking, or at least time and space have no meaning. Do I feel guilty about sending a guy to jail when I was allowed to go home? I guess a little now, but then, it was the way things were. We were the cops and they weren't.
I want to extend a very special thank you to Detective Mark Hussey for allowing me to share his stories. I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I have.