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Fleeing the scene

January 15, 2013 - Ilsa Matthes
Most people who are stopped for fleeing the scene of an accident are involved in the accident. I can’t even fly a plane.

It’s been more than a week since the emergency landing of a Civil Air Patrol plane on Danforth Road, and I officially think it is safe to tell this story.

That night I was covering a board meeting and happened to be sitting at my desk writing an article about bus garages when the radio scanner began to indicate that a plane was coming in hot. What I could piece together as I was leaving the office didn’t give me much indication as to where the plane was coming down, but I figured an airplane wouldn’t be too difficult to find.

There’s a reason people were paid to sit on islands and spot planes during WWII. I would not have lasted long in that position.

So I drove around town, trying to spot flashing lights or wing-tips while occasionally stopping to let the police scanner app on my cell phone direct me — mostly in the direction of unrelated ambulance calls.

When I finally heard that Danforth Road was cleared for traffic I made my way to the plane and realized that there was no place for me to park where I wouldn’t be in the way of officers working the crash. In an attempt to be a courteous citizen, I parked in the M-Tec parking lot and ran along a snow mobile trail to the corner.

It’s important to note at this point that I was in fact running. It was cold outside and I wanted to get back to the office as soon as possible. Also worth mentioning is that I was dressed entirely in black, having just come back from a business meeting.

I stood on the corner for a good ten minutes, snapped my photos — all of which came out dark despite using flash — and began running back to my car. Again, it was cold.

I slammed my purse down on the passengers seat, gave one final look over the photos, and was just about to drive away when headlights flooded my car with light.

Big headlights from a big vehicle. The kind that people who drive in low-to-the-ground sedans like mine are constantly cursing because they are at the same level as our back windows. There was also a light bar on top of the big vehicle, but it wasn’t flashing. Clearly, the driver of this vehicle did not want me to leave.

A very polite officer approached my car and asked me why I was running. I explained why I was there and that I just wanted to get back to the office quickly to get the photos filed. I even offered him a card, but naturally my business card folio had slipped to the bottom of my boho-bag purse. He said my drivers license would do.

I showed him the license and, once I tracked down my business cards, gave him a card stamped with the Daily Press logo. He let me leave.

The short form of the story is this: I was stopped for fleeing the scene of an accident on foot — an airplane accident.

As humorous as the whole story is, I’m actually quite impressed with the officers involved. For all they knew at the time, I had stolen a part of the plane, been involved in a drug pick up, was stealing Civil Air Patrol secrets, or — my personal favorite, however unlikely — a jewel thief using downed planes as a cover to smuggle diamonds.

I could have been anyone. As it turns out, I’m just one very unlucky reporter who tends to get into trouble completely by accident. I happen to have a black coat, and I chose a bad night to opt for exercise.


Article Comments



Jun-07-13 10:46 AM


your 'experience' would have turned on a 'light-bulb' somewhere,

as the source of a possible story?

Better stick to 'reporting' board meetings...

this is a farce at the press, where they usually call someone associated with the board for 'their-take' on the meeting.

It's cheaper, and dosen't involve having to send someone to record ACTUAL PROCEEDINGS !

What's the word that covers such 'farcical reporting these days,

'hearsay' you say ?


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