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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Car-diac Arrest

You may not be the most perceptive person in the world.

Sometimes, you don’t see a car next to you while changing lanes. Your friends’ birthdays might not stick in your mind. Maybe you have even neglected, from time to time, to notice your boyfriend’s growing biceps. Or your girlfriend’s new haircut.

That last one’s not good. Trust me.

But as unobservant as we can be, I think most of you would notice a dead body just a few feet away. Especially if you’re a police officer looking through a Mercedes window as you deposit an illegal parking ticket under the wiper blade.

Yet somehow, cops in Peoria, Illinois last month issued three tickets and a tow-away sticker on an SUV … and didn’t notice the dead body inside.

At least it hadn’t yet been a full week when a bystander noticed a motionless boot against the glass and alerted hospital authorities. The police finally “discovered” the body in the back seat of the very vehicle they had been ticketing for days.

At first I was upset by this story. I mean, aren’t all Americans—especially law enforcement personnel—supposed to be on heightened alert? Shouldn’t they be hyperaware of things out of the ordinary and extra vigilant against potential threats?

Then I realized this is PEORIA. Sure, the city is abuzz with excitement for Bradley University’s upset of Kansas last night … but it sure isn’t on the front lines of any recent conflict. In New York or Washington, that car would have been towed off—or vaporized in a controlled demolition—quicker than Russell Crowe can hurl a phone across the room.

So maybe our priorities are in the correct place after all. I’m guessing that the badguys won’t try to spank us anywhere near Iowa, Wisconsin, or Indiana: the “flyover states,” as folks on the coasts call them. If most people in America haven’t heard of Peoria—much less Dubuque, Stevens Point, or Greencastle—do you really think that audiences overseas would be energized by a car blowing up there?

Don’t get me wrong. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for the practicality and no-bullshit attitude of Midwestern culture. I’m not hoping for an attack in the heartland, merely pointing out that if police in Washington or New York left an unattended vehicle just steps away from a public venue for days on end, heads would roll.

It happens in Central Illinois, and most of the country doesn’t even know about it.

Except for that dead body thing.

So the real issue here is why the police in Illinois didn’t see that lifeless leg propped up against the car window. Were they focusing on the alleged thousands of Midwestern methamphetamine labs? Did officers just get lazy as they continued dwelling on Da Bears’ playoff loss?

The police captain would surely deny any such explanations—she blames tinted windows for the error, telling a local newspaper it was really, really hard to see inside the car. She said she understood why her officers made this mistake.

I think that’s just a cop out.

30 Comments:

At March 18, 2006 12:05 PM, Blogger Kay replied to my musings ...

Thanks for giving me a retort if I get razzed about the Jayhawks: "Well, at least we don't leave dead bodies lying around."

 
At March 18, 2006 12:16 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Peoria is known as for being "the average" anytown, USA. Many companies test new products in Peoria because of this fact.

Dan Fogelberg and Richard Pryor were originally from Peoria, I think.

 
At March 18, 2006 12:26 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Kay: Thanks for stopping by. Peoria has to deal with this dead body story, sure ... but all the buildings in that city combined don't have as many bricks as the Jayhawks put up last night!

Good memory, Phoenix. I'm pretty sure that Peoria also gave us Gary Richrath, the underrated guitarist from REO Speedwagon.

-- david

 
At March 18, 2006 1:21 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

In Washington or New York, the car would most likely have been picked clean and the corpse sold on the black market.

 
At March 18, 2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

If I lived in that county and was stopped for speeding, I would say, "I couldn't read the Speek Limit signs. My windows are tinted."

The front windshiled wasn't tinted. It's obvious the cops didn't look into the car. Isn't it their job to check things out? I dunno. Seems like a lax police force to me.

I'm thinking that it must have smelled really badly in that car after that guy had fermented in there for so long.
Did this guy have no family? I hope if I was dead on the side of the road that my family would at least call and report me missing.
What a sad story.

 
At March 18, 2006 1:50 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

Well, I want to know how the body got there and why the person was dead.

 
At March 18, 2006 2:23 PM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

Oy. The pun.

Hey, man, there's a whole lotta a sheeeyit going down in Ohio. People don't think much of Cleveland, but that depends on their definition of excitement. If finding previously undiscovered dead bodies in illegally parked cars is your bag, I'm sure we got some of that out here. There's a ton of rural spreads of land to toss a body in. Not that I'm planning on tossing one, but it's good to know I've got plenty of dumping choices at my disposal.

That last pun was for you, Dave.

 
At March 18, 2006 2:27 PM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

Since we're on the subject of celebrities who came from the Mid-west...
Tim Conway and the I-Forgot-His-Name cartoonist of Calvin and Hobbes both came from my hometown.

In fact the Calvin and Hobbes guy lives on the street behind my parents.

I'm so cool. Ohio rocks.

 
At March 18, 2006 2:54 PM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

Jim Thome was born in Peoria as well.

I think it's smalltown anywhere not just mid-west. I live in central Maryland and even though I am like less than an hour from Baltimore and a little over an hour to DC, it's still relatively laidback here. I could imagine this story happening where I live.

 
At March 18, 2006 3:34 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

I'm not excusing the cops, but they may have been more interested in getting their ticket quota than anything else.

 
At March 18, 2006 4:59 PM, Blogger Amy replied to my musings ...

hey officer, just out of curiosity... say i had a body in the trunk... where would YOU hide it?

the windows weren't tinted so much that a casual passerby missed THE boot... however, i would just as readily assume that the passerby was considering STEALing the car... maybe that is why they found the body...

 
At March 18, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger fatty ~ replied to my musings ...

wheres peoria?

i'm pretty unobservant, i would totally miss it. I've been known to miss red traffic lights and such other unimportant things...

I dont think this would happen in Syd.

 
At March 18, 2006 9:40 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

That is pretty bad! It happened at a Wal Mart once too. You know hundreds if not thousands of people are in a Wal Mart parking lot everyday and no one reported it. I guess they thought the old lady was sleeping!

 
At March 19, 2006 3:22 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

George Michael would have never been found either I guess.

 
At March 19, 2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart replied to my musings ...

WOW. What tinting laws do they have in Illinois?? I know in FLORIDA - drug capital of the South, the law is 15/30 - meaning 15% for front and 30% visiblity for rear windows....even still, if you get close enough, you can see throuhg the tinting!!

The cops are trying not to get a bad rap, but anyone in the tiniting industry will tell you that MOST cars with tinting -- even factory installed -- has a point where despnding on light direction, you can see through...

*sigh*

I think I'd rather live in a big city than Peoria after hearign about this. At least my body would be found faster.....

 
At March 19, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger The Benster! replied to my musings ...

I think you're all a little naive to think that this sort of thing couldn't happen in a big city as well. There have been several cases of dead bodies riding in New York subway cars for six hours or more.

 
At March 19, 2006 1:12 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

But it is rather amazing that someone else not trained in the art of observation would see the boot/leg and not an officer of the law. Tinted windows are a cop out. They have flashlights, don't they? I'm sure that my car would have been towed after 1 ticket.

 
At March 19, 2006 5:19 PM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

Maybe they ticketed the car in the hopes that someone ELSE would remove the body for them. I mean, the paperwork that must be involved.....

 
At March 20, 2006 5:26 AM, Blogger Leila replied to my musings ...

hmmm. in a similar story, one of SA's judge's granddaughters got 'kidnapped' from her home a week or so ago.

After days of looking for her, they found her body.

Under a bed in the house. in the goddamn house. sickening.

 
At March 20, 2006 7:16 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

It's hard not to knock the police for oversights like these. Sure, their job is tough and all that ... but the body under the bed story is just depressing.

-- david

 
At March 20, 2006 8:40 AM, Blogger Cari replied to my musings ...

Hard to see in there? That is a lame reason. Don't they train them in the academy to always look IN an abandoned car just in case something like this happens?

 
At March 20, 2006 8:56 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Ewww....that's just nasty.

And a bit scary too....not too damn observant, were they?

Ugh.

 
At March 20, 2006 10:17 AM, Blogger Green Eyes replied to my musings ...

Unbelievable. Ticketing a dead guy. I wonder how long the City will be trying to get the fine money from him.

 
At March 20, 2006 11:25 AM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

I wonder if there are "ticket quotas" in Peoria? If so, it exposes the truth about parking tickets in that they are less about public safety and more about providing a source of revenue... not that it excuses the lame performance.

 
At March 20, 2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

It's Peoria... 'nuff said!

I've never been there myself, I just know of it by reputation.

 
At March 20, 2006 12:03 PM, Blogger none - ya replied to my musings ...

Better late than never.

 
At March 20, 2006 4:23 PM, Blogger Shannon replied to my musings ...

LOL @ Cop Out... hehe

I dunno it sounds strange, I mean I would tend to check the car out and all.. I don't understand it.. *Shrug*

 
At March 20, 2006 8:36 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

And something tells me that with Peoria's attention focused on its Bradley University men's basketball team's success in March Madness, it may be even easier to distract the police there!

-- david

 
At March 20, 2006 11:33 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

dI bet they ever contributed anything to C.S.I. writers.

 
At March 24, 2006 11:00 AM, Blogger dusty replied to my musings ...

Bunch of donut-eating lazy sumbitchs..they put three tickets on it? ANd a passer=by noticed the foot?

Pathetic..

 

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