Online With 911 Dispatch For 20 Minutes – DWO

I was driving to Argyle today to drop off some papers, and as usual, I took the mountain route to see the whole Willamette Valley. Half way up the mountain, I came upon a slow-driving car that was driving half in the wrong lane. The car was swerving badly, so I decided not to pass and to determine if it was a momentary swerve, or if something was wrong. For about a mile, the car was weaving in and out of our lane, sometimes hitting the dirt on the shoulder.

It looked like a drunk driving scenario, so I dialed 911. No reception. I followed the car past the summit and down the Newberg side of the mountain – still swerving like crazy, and still no reception for 911. A mile later, I got one bar of signal, so I called 911.

Meanwhile, a Subaru was behind me and it looked like the lady driving wanted to pass us up. The drunk driver began driving in the wrong lane for extended periods, and the Subaru filed back behind me for safety.

Now on with 911, I gave the license plate number, my info and answered tons of questions about the driver, the car, etc. 911 dispatch said they wanted me to continue to follow the car while they set up a roadblock at the bottom of the mountain. Two head-on collisions missed, we somehow made it to the bottom of the mountain without an accident, but there were no cops waiting.

I continued following the driver, who by now had pulled off and back onto the road a number of times – once coming to a full stop in the road for no reason. Several minutes and miles later, I spotted the first police car. Dispatch told me to slow to block traffic and let the cruiser in behind the suspect car, which I did. Of course, the driver was no longer swerving, which upset me because I thought she was going to get away with it.

Lo and behold, the driver started swerving again and made a mid-road pit stop. It was then that the cruiser put his lights on. A second cruiser joined in the slow chase, with me and the Subaru close behind. Police sirens finally got the driver’s attention and the car pulled over. The Subaru lady and I pulled off the road behind the cruisers and waited.

We finally got a chance to talk to the officer in charge – Sergeant W. He called it a “DWO” – Driving While Old. Seems the lady driving was so old that she couldn’t properly control her car. She also appeared lost and confused. Sergeant W was surprised she made it down the mountain without going over the side of a cliff. He said it was likely that they would have to drive her home and have a family member pick up the car, and that she was going to have to appear at the DMV for a final driving test, which she was likely to fail.

It turns out that the Subaru lady behind me was an ex-cop and that her husband, a police officer, knew Sergeant W. I also worked for a local sheriff as a translator a long time back, and they both knew the sheriff. Funny connections sometimes!

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