who was not aware of the brilliance that is Squidbillies?
Early Cuyler is my new boyfriend.
who was not aware of the brilliance that is Squidbillies?
Commentary after the fold, and special thanks to P-T vet Karen Snelling, who called all the brass and spent like an hour working on the rewrite with me; and photog Steph Dowell, who I’ve never seen rattled before yesterday. As always, emphasis mine in the story.
The parents of two Gary teenagers who died in an one-vehicle crash Saturday say their sons were left along a dark road for six hours because police refused to listen to two others who survived the accident.
Brandon Smith lost control of the truck he was driving and swerved across Chase Street into the southbound lanes, crashing through the metal fencing along the bridge and flipping numerous times before it landed in a vegetated area next to the road around 3 a.m. Saturday.
Smith and one of three passengers, Dominique Green, were thrown from the vehicle, according to relatives.
One of two remaining passengers managed to crawl out of the wrecked truck and get help. After police arrived, Darius Moore and DeAndre Anderson, both 18, were taken to the Methodist Hospital in Gary.
While en route the boys told police and emergency workers that two of their friends—Brandon and Dominique --were still at the crash site, said Darren Smith, a Gary firefighter and Brandon’s uncle.
“They kept telling them there were four, and the officer, J. Westerfield, told them, ‘We checked the scene,’ “ he said.
Brandon’s father, Arthur “Bud” Smith, became worried after not hearing from his son all night. So, he and Brandon’s mother, Samantha Epps, called friends’ parents to find him. They heard about the crash and that Moore and Anderson had been rushed to area hospitals, but nothing about their son.
Darren Smith said he and his brother, Bud, went to the scene of the accident after his shift at the fire department ended. Shortly after 9 a.m., the two men found Brandon’s body and that of his friend, Dominique, next to a tree about 10 to 15 feet from where the truck landed.
Six hours had passed since the crash.
Investigators from the Lake County coroner’s office were called to the site at 9:27 a.m. Both 18-year-olds had suffered blunt force injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene, a spokesman for the coroner’s office said.
Gary Police Department Cmdr. Samuel Roberts said the officer who responded to the accident did not deviate from departmental procedures.
He could not explain why the two teens were left along the roadside.
“I don’t know if the officer was told there were four people in the vehicle or if the occupant said he had dropped off the other people,” Roberts said. “Right now, what I do know is that the police department responded and an accident report was taken,” Roberts said.
But the police commander said he had not read the report as of late Saturday and did not know the details of the accident.
Darren Smith wants to know why the fire department was not called to the scene of his nephew’s accident as it is for most other crashes. Smith also wants to know why police did not locate his nephew when Brandon and Dominique were lying so close the truck.
“A search consists of flood lights and fire equipment, and when we’re not on a scene, that means it wasn’t dispatched,” he said. “We respond to fender benders.
“All they needed was a flashlight to find them, but no lights, and that’s a search? Come on, man. That’s pathetic.”
Brandon’s mother, Epps, wants to know why Brandon’s father and uncle had to be the ones to find her son and his friend. She paced the scene as classmates and onlookers congregated along Chase Street, her emotions whipping between anger and despair.
“It should’ve never taken the father to find them,” Epps said, struggling to hold back tears. “Any other questions I have, that’s between me and God.”
LaTrice Long, Brandon’s cousin, wants to know why emergency workers didn’t listen to the surviving boys.
Anderson told police he and three others were involved in the accident,” Long said. “How could anyone ignore that?”
Mayor Rudy Clay, who walked in the Gary Back-to-School Parade on Saturday morning, stopped by the crash scene to offer condolences. He referred all inquiries to Gary Police Chief Thomas Houston.
Bud Smith remembered his son as “the perfect kid.”
“He played basketball last year,” he said. “These were school buddies, and he wasn’t involved in anything bad. He was just a normal 18-year-old kid.”
Long said Brandon always had a smile on his face and was close to their giant family, especially Epps and his brothers, Roderick Denham and Tyler Smith.
“You know how boys sometimes only talk to their dads? Not Brandon. He always told his mother everything because he wanted her point of view,” she said.
The road the two died on has a reputation for being bumpy and causing crashes. In December 2002, a Hobart teen was killed while “riding the bumps” driving on Chase Street. In September 2004, a Gary man was saved by medics and passersby from a crash on Chase that sent his car upside down in the Little Calumet River.
I’ve probably mentioned this before—or perhaps not—but I’m not the PR sort; I tried it early on in my career and quickly found out that while I might be good at strategy, I’m so not genteel enough to deal with people on a regular basis. That being said, I understand that PR takes special skills, so do police or fire departments hire PR professionals as their PIOs, or is that some sort of coveted desk job? And if it’s a coveted desk job, has it occurred to these departments to maybe send their PIOs to a crash course in PR so that when dealing with the press they, I don’t know, HAVE SOME SENSE OF GRAVITY IN THESE KINDS OF SITUATIONS!?? Because really, Sam!?? You said you knew the officers followed procedure, yet you didn’t read the report, and you obviously couldn’t be arsed to get yourself into the station to deal with a PR nightmare that is seriously going to damage the department. You know, I really hope for Cmdr. Roberts’ sake that he’s got a family member that needs 24-hour care or that there was a death in the family or some other legitimate reason for his half-assing this, because wow. What a disservice to everyone.
And this Ofc. J. Westerfield (who I’ve since found out is named Jeffrey), I don’t understand how he or any other emergency worker on a scene where the vehicle flipped anywhere between seven to 15 times wouldn’t at least shine a flashlight to see if there was anyone or anything else that looked askew. No, I’m not an emergency worker, and no, I don’t know what I would do. But if it makes sense to survey the area to little ol’ me or any of the friends and family who were gathered along Chase Street, how does that NOT make sense to him?
I’m not done here. You know what my first thought was when I talked to Brandon’s uncle? “I hope to God the officer ain’t white.” (For a second I thought he WAS because I grew up across the street from Westerfields, one of whom was a cop. But it isn’t my former neighbor, praise jeebus.) Not because it proves that the guy’s negligence was racially motivated; like I said, I don’t know what the guy was thinking. But whatever it was, I guarantee you it will become racially motivated if the guy is white—the group said as much as I stood there—and Lake County needs that like a hole in the head. One last thing: I hope that Jeffrey Westerfield is smart enough to realize that arrogance isn’t going to help the department, the city or the families. So, when he gets the ol’ “paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation” option, I hope he has the humility to just resign instead. I can’t say this enough: I don’t understand how he or the rest of the emergency workers wouldn’t have even looked, so what possible explanation is going to be suitable for him to stay?
And Rudy. I didn’t see the Mayoral Hummer pull up as I was on the phone with the office, so I didn’t talk to him personally. I am rather surprised that when his one assistant did get him back on the phone, he didn’t give me the whole, “We’re going to get to the bottom of this, heads are going to roll, etc. etc. etc.,” especially considering that LaTrice Long, the one boy’s cousin, is also an assistant of his. I mean, LaTrice said he was upset about the whole thing, but I’m just saying that I would think he’d come out a little stronger than referring all inquiries to the police chief.
that I can rock a headband kinda righteously, I would’ve spent a lot less time bitching about my hair when it was ass-hot and humid last month. Guess you learn something new every day.
Info meme #1
Typelogic says I'm an INFP.
Check my weekly astrological groove here.
Give it to me, baby.
Pssst ... My birthday's Feb. 3, and I want this, and this, and this ...
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This explains that large bit of type at the top.
Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.
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