[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]
I am writing to share with you pictures and our story from a drunk driving accident that occurred on our property last night. Last night, 8/10/2014, around 11:30 pm a Chevrolet Camaro (pictured) spun out driving up hill on 14th Ave South (just south of the corner of S 232nd St and 14th Ave S). My wife and I witnessed two white men in the vehicle, both are pictured in the first picture. The man in the red shirt was driving and the man in the green shirt was a passenger. The passenger got out of the vehicle and attempted to push the car out of the ditch while the driver accelerated. In their attempt they moved the car less than 10 feet to the north until hitting our driveway and knocking over but somehow not running over the man trying to push the car. The driver got out of the car and threw something into the ditch (We found out this morning was a case of beer that is pictured below). MPO J West with Des Moines PD and another officer responded to the scene. The second officer left shortly after. We went outside and spoke with the two men who smelled strongly of alcohol and where stumbling. The man in red admitted to us to driving, that they were drinking and said he didn’t “know what happened.” He then proceeded to tell us that MPO J. West was the “best fucking cop ever” for not taking him to jell and that MPO J West told them he had too much else to deal with and would just call a tow truck. CPO J. West was on the scene for around one and a half hours until the car was towed and he let the men walk home two blocks away. During this time MPO J West sat in his car, my wife took photos and we continued to have conversation with the men who were clearly and admittedly to us were drunk. My wife took photos of MPO J West’s car and asked him for his business card. MPO J West then called in another officer (we did not get his name) to come talk with us. He asked us if we had any questions. When we asked if they were going to do a sobriety test he told us they couldn’t give one or arrest the driver because they couldn’t put him behind the wheel. We then told him that we saw the driver get out of the car, heard both men admit who the driver was to MPO J West and that they also told us he was driving and admitted to drinking “a lot” at the Sounders match. The officer then told us it was none of our business. Last we asked if the trash and debris would be cleaned out of our yard, he said the tow truck driver would take care of it. The officers never took statements from us as witnesses and the trash and debris (including their case of beer and license plate from the Camaro) are still in our yard.
I’m disappointed in the incompetence and laziness I have witnessed by Des Moines PD during this and other crimes over the past two years. While an arrest may not have been the easiest to prosecute, drunk drivers are often charged after an accident where the police did not witness the driver behind the wheel. And yes, maybe a savvy lawyer could get the charges dropped or convince reasonable doubt, but we could at least make it difficult for an obvious drunk driver to get back on the road. This only sends the message to these young men that they can get away with drunk driving and they unfortunately will likely do it again. If Des Moines PD would have put a little effort into doing their job in this situation they could prevent future drunk driving deaths.
– Joe Armes, MSF
Chief Solutions Designer & Founder
We forwarded this letter onto Doug Jenkins of the Des Moines Police Department, who sent us this response:
The Des Moines Police Department takes the crime of Driving Under the Influence very seriously. We appreciate the citizen bringing their concerns forward and we will look into the actions and behaviors of our officers. In addition, we will reach out to any witnesses to determine what information they may have that will assist us in this investigation.
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