|Posted on December 19, 2010 at 10:54 PM|
The road was dark and the only thing we could see was the road in front of us that only the headlights would allow us to see. I glanced at the clock, it was exactly 1:22 in the morning. My wife’s head lay on my shoulder as she slept quite deeply cause she had been up most of the day and night preceding our trip. I then noticed that we we’re driving into a heavy rain so I cut on the wipers, and the defrost because the windows fogged up quickly. On the radio there was a report that was saying that there was an accident on highway 12 east, and that just happened to be the highway we were on at the time, and we had almost reached the accident by the time the report ended. I woke up my wife and told her what was happening and she sat up straight and said I hope everyone is okay. As we neared the accident scene we immediately knew everyone wasn’t okay, there were ten cars we could see clearly piled up in a metal mess, and people were wandering around the scene like zombies bleeding from the head and bodies, and there were others laid out on the highway in the rain. We pulled over to the side of the road and noticed that there were not any paramedics on the scene yet, and there were people running around trying to do what they could do to help. I for some reason thought to grab my camera and start shooting the accident in case it would be needed later by whom ever looked at this sort of thing.
The images in my camera was the most carnage I have ever witnessed in my life, There were body parts laying on the side of the road, and people that we all knew had expired for sure. There was screaming, and pleading for help by the injured, and people seemingly losing it after the lost of love ones. It was almost too much for me to film. It made me sort of compare this to a plane crash. My wife was doing all she could do, but there wasn’t much anyone on that road could do but pray. I noticed others sheltering the injured from the rain that seemed to pour in buckets onto this awful scene. The rain seemed to wash away the blood, and the blood immediately came back time and time again. The Paramedics sirens were getting closer, and we could see the multi colored lights coming up the freeway on both sides of the highway. We ran up the highway leading them to the scene, and when they arrived they quickly got all the spectators, and others who were helping back Behind a tape they were putting up around the parameter so me and my wife got into our car but I continued taping the whole thing from my vehicle. When they allowed us to, we proceeded on our way down this dark and unforgiving highway that takes the living on a moments notice.
We decided to stop at the nearest rest stop or motel we got to next because we were both just shaken to the bone, cold and wet from standing in a pouring rain for what seemed like an hour or more. We pulled up to a motel and I went up to the window and paid for a room for the night or better put, the rest of the morning. The clerk gave me the key, and we went to the room and showered together to save precious sleep time, and the blood on my wife from the scene covered the shower floor. We then got in bed and fell into a deep sleep that is until we were awakened by a loud knocking at the door.
They were yelling police! Open up now!! Open the door right now!! We said just a minute we are getting dressed and they yelled open the door right now!!! Do it now!! I finally got to the door and opened it, and a mob of police stormed in and grabbed me and threw me to the floor while at the same time grabbing my wife and placing her on the floor beside me. I asked what is going on? What’s happening? And all they would say was shut your mouths and put your hands behind you! Right then we saw a figure enter into the door with an officer and said yes that’s the couple that was all bloody and wet. We almost at the same time started trying to explain what had happened, but they just started leading us to separate squad cars where there was TV cameras Filming and talking as if they had caught some murderers like Bonnie & Clyde or something.
Just then it came to me, my Camera! So I told one of the officers to get my camera and it would explain the whole thing. He told me not to worry, that they will make sure to get everything from the room that we brought in to that room. Me, and my wife were placed in separate squad cars and taken to the county jail where we were processed and finger printed as if we were already guilty of something. I saw them lead my wife into a room and then came and got me and led me to a room where they left me for about thirty minutes. All of a sudden this plain clothed character about six foot eight, and three hundred pounds walked into the room and shut the door.
He sat down and introduced himself as Mr. Wheeler and said that he wanted to ask me a few questions about what transpired the night before. I told him that this was all a big mistake, and that me and my wife were just assisting the accident that happened on the freeway prior to our getting to that motel, and that the clerk must have saw the blood on me and my wife and thought we had committed some crime. I told him to check my video camera and he would see that I taped the whole thing. He said they would do that and to be patient while they figured this situation out. He told me to relax, and if there is proof on that camera that we would be on our way in a couple of hours. Then he walked out of the room and locked my door behind him. I sat back and thanked God for the fact that I taped the accident, and in my mind I thought this was going to be over pretty soon, and how I was going to be kind in my forgiveness of the officers that were clearly just doing their job. Just then the door opened, and they led my wife into the room where she ran and hugged me tightly saying this whole thing is a nightmare! I told her to relax, “I got the whole thing on video sweetheart, and we will be out of here very soon.” I said. We waited in that half lit room for what seemed to be three hours and then it happened. Mr. Wheeler and two officers walked in and told me that they looked at the video, and saw everything on it and there was nothing on it that had anything to do with an accident. He said after all of our personal video shots the video went dark.
He said they did hear of an accident on the freeway but that they had no proof that we were there at all.
We were absolutely horrified and asked what now? And Mr. Wheeler said they had no choice but to hold us for 48 hours to see if there were any suspicious events that occurred in the last 24 hours that we could be involved with. My wife just feel into my arms crying and saying to the officers that we were telling the truth while she was being handcuffed for the second time, and led away to a holding cell. They handcuffed me and led me to a cell where there was no one else around. The officer then asked me did I want a lawyer, and I said no! I haven’t done anything at all to have to need one. He shut the cell and walked away. I sat in that dark cell as I contemplated what would happen next, and watched the four walls close in on me. I was thinking I know me, and wife are innocent but still we sit in two separate cells like criminals. I finally lie down on this incredibly hard surface and fall asleep.
I awaken to a guard calling my name saying sir get up and place your hands through the cell door. I got up and placed my hands in the opening, the guard placed handcuffs on my wrists and then opened the cell door and led me to a room where my wife was sitting already, and looking quite beaten by this whole ordeal. She got up and met me halfway and asked as we were sitting down “Honey what is going on?” and I said “Don’t worry darling, everything will be alright.” Mr. Wheeler entered the room and said good morning folks, again we are sorry that this couldn’t have been settled sooner, but you have to understand, we don’t know what happened last night, other than finding two bloody people in a hotel room. There was nothing on a tape you said yourself had all the proof, which leads me to being a bit leery. We are checking all reports of murders in the city, and hospital entries that may have occurred in the last 48 hours in our town and neighboring towns. I again told the officer that we were just helping hurt people on a freeway in the rain, and said, “This is the thanks we get for being good Samaritans?” My wife here is scared to death, in an uncomfortable cell! Handcuffed like a common criminal! This is cruel! What the hell do we have to do to make you people understand that we are not murderers?”
Mr. Wheeler sighed and got up out of his seat and said “For you and your wife’s Sake I hope all you have said is true.
But for now we are going to hold you guys for 24 hours more, and if we don’t get any suspicious reports we will then release you, but we will ask you to stay here in the city for at least 48 hours more.” The guards came in and led us back to our cells. I heard my wife going the other way crying loudly, and it hurt me deeply knowing what I knew. Not only was I now getting nervous, but getting mad. Now I’m thinking of how I was going to sue this precinct for all the pain and suffering that they had caused us. I asked the guard when we were going to be allowed to make a phone call and he said tomorrow. I asked why not now? And he told me we were in the midst of a possible crime, and we could only contact a lawyer when they deemed us relinquished of all possible suspicion or they were ready to charge us with a crime. My cell door closed, and the locking noise reverberated in my ears for at least 5 minutes I said to myself that in the morning this nightmare will be over cause I knew that they weren’t going to be able to implicate us in any crime. That for the night was my comforting thought.
I awoke without the foggiest idea of whether it was night or day.
I got up and stretched from the pounding I took lying on this slab of concrete and then walked to the cell door trying to look for maybe a clock, or something To give me a sense of the time and space that I was in at that moment, and all the crap from the hours back, of hell that I and my wife had suffered at the hands of these over jealous small town police. I sat and put my hands to my forehead and asked God for a better day. I never went back to sleep, I just sat in what seemed like a fog for hours. I really was missing my wife, and feeling for her, cause she never been through such a thing before, like being handcuffed, finger printed, and stood up against a wall, strip searched, and mug shot taken .I really hate she had to suffer this kind of suspicion and doubt that the legal system will put you through before you have even been tried in a court of law.
I just sat and waited until I heard the sound of keys rattling, and the clank of the lock opening the cell doors. A officer or guard came to my cell and asked me to put my hands through the cell and proceeded to usher me down a dimly lit hallway with some of the fluorescent lights blinking on and off, I said to myself “man I’m in a movie I’ve seen”. We arrived at a holding room that was all white, a chalky white that reminded me of a white out. Another man walked into the room and introduced himself and asked would I have a problem with a DNA sample being taken, and I asked why? Why would you need a DNA sample from me? He said that his job was to get a sample, and all else would be explained by the officers then asked again, sir would you consent to a DNA sample? I said sure why not, I got nothing to hide.
He took the sample and immediately left the room. I then start thinking what my wife was going through all over again, I knew she was absolutely terrified and there was nothing I could do help her. The officer told me to get up and proceeded to lead me to still another room where I saw walking as I walked in two lawyers, Mr. Wheeler, and my wife who I could tell had been crying heavily by the swelling in her eyes. I sat down next to her and my cuffs were taken off and I immediately hugged her tightly as she started to cry again.
Mr. Wheeler then got up and read us both our rights as we sit there absolutely tripping out. We both said we understood our rights, and I asked do we have any rights? The lawyer told us to only answer what they said we could answer, and I asked him did I hire you? And he said that he was court appointed and if I wanted to change later I could. I asked Mr. Wheeler,” what is going on!” he said that two people were killed on highway 12 east and thrown from the vehicle into the freeway which caused a 12 car pile up that killed 16 innocent travelers, you and your wife’s DNA were found on those two murder victims, and I said wait, we were going about checking people for life on that freeway! And he said that would explain how the two folks blood got on you, but that don’t explain how both, you and your wife’s blood were found on them! I sat back and started traveling back to the accident in my mind, his voice seemed to deafen as I reached the very moment we pulled over to that accident. I got out, and then my wife got out, I ran across the front of the car to her side and Grabbed one of her hands and started up the freeway to the bodies that lie in the street. My wife went over to a young lady that was frantically screaming because she had lost one of her arms in the accident, and I went over to a gentleman that was saying over and over to me as he reached up to grab my arm he dug his nails into my arm and opened up a gash in my wrist, that was it! Pleading folks to help them had scratched my wife and me and we bled on the corpses that were already dead! I said wait! I can explain what must have happened and Mr. Wheeler said ,”you will get your day in court.”
My wife just laid her head on the table and cried. The court appointed lawyers told us that they needed to speak to us separate, and then together to put together a defense, and the female lawyer touched my wife gently on the back and asked her to come along with her, while comforting her as they walked out the door.
I was in tears as I sat there thinking, this cant be true. What started out a nightmare has turned into pure hell. After telling the whole sordid story again to this lawyer he said that he would get back with me tomorrow, and he guaranteed me that they would get us out of this jail in the morning. I said okay and the guard asked me to get up and then he cuffed me again, and right at that moment I shook with the fear of the unknown. This was the perfect storm, the epitome of Murphy’s Law, and like a hellish version of the twilight zone.
I am now seriously afraid of what a small town court system could do to two innocent souls that were just doing what God would have them to do. The guard led me back to my cell and never said a word to me the whole way. I sat down on that slab and looked up to the sky and said “Lord God” I am going to trust you as I have always trusted you. I know you will deliver us as you have delivered us before, the truth will be revealed and the truth will set us free, Amen. Then I lay back up against the wall on this bottom bunk of concrete and just stared ahead into the darkness while in the corner of my tear filled eyes I could see the fluorescent lights blinking .
I was awakened the next morning by a guard who came to get me for release he said. I got up and went over to the cell door and went through the same procedure as I had days previous, and then walked down that same hallway and noticed for the first time how incredibly clean and shiny they were. We walked into a room where my wife and the two lawyers were waiting. My Wife walked up to me and asked, “Honey is it over?” I grabbed her in my arms and held her tightly and said I hope so. The lawyers told us that we would be going before a judge and all we were to say is not guilty, and they would take care of the rest. We were then taken up stairs to a Courtroom where there were two other lawyers for the prosecution, a lady typing, and a Judge. The prosecutor went on to explain to the judge that he felt like we would be a flight risk, and asked that we not be let out on bail. I so wanted to say something, to try to get these people to understand that this whole thing was just a mistake. But I remained quiet until we were asked separately how we pleaded, and we both said innocent. The Judge after listening to our attorneys decided to let us out but with very strict restrictions, so we were not going to be able to go home. But we were at least able to go to a Hotel that the attorneys had gotten for us. We were quite thankful for this, and we thanked them all the way out of that place. We got into a van that was waiting outside in front of the Justice center and they took us directly to the Hotel. We arrived at the room and we for just a moment forgot all our problems and just feel back onto the king size bed.
My wife turned over toward me and asked what are we going to do? I said first of all relax, take a deep breathe, and realize that we didn’t do anything wrong. I told her that the lawyers that were representing us were young and quite impressive; they seemed to really care about proving our innocence. We got up and walked up to the window looking over the city and just held each other in silent thought. I asked my wife to go and get a hot soothing bath and I would be in to massage her back to help her relax, she said that this was a good idea, kissed me on the cheek and walked into the bathroom and started the water. I walked out onto the balcony and rested my arms on the railing, looked up into the half blue, half cloudy skies and silently contemplated what the next day would bring, then turned around and walked back into the room. My wife was already in the huge bathtub with the sauna on, with a towel wrapped around her hair, and another on her face.
I sat down on the side on the tub and asked her to turn around, she turned her back to me and I kneaded her back and neck as she moaned with approval. She said why don’t you join me, and I said why don’t I? Just then I got up, disrobed and got into the almost too hot bubbling water she had already gotten use to. We sat in the sauna it seemed like an eternity with our eyes closed and listening to nothing. Afterwards we got out and got directly into bed and got the kind of sleep that we hadn’t in four or five days. When I woke up it was 4:45 in the morning, I got up without waking my wife, and She was in a deep sleep.
I put on my robe and walked over to the balcony doors swung them open and walked out to a cool wind that made me shiver. The lights from the city seemed to remind me of all the lights on that freeway that rainy fateful night that changed the very lives of two innocent unsuspecting souls.
I finally exhaled and thought that everything would get straightened out before any court date could come, I mean we didn’t do this for God sake, surely between the coroner, and the examiner of those murder victims, somebody will figure out that we didn’t do this. I simply will not allow myself to believe that this will go to court. It became a little too chilly out there so I returned to the room and got back into bed, snuggled up to my wife and fell back to sleep. The phone at about 9:30 awakened us in the morning, it was one of the lawyers that were representing us, and he said that they were on the way over to take us back to the crime scene so that we could give them the details of what happened, and how they happened. I said okay and relayed the message to my wife who got up and started to get ready. When they arrived we proceeded to an I-hop restaurant for breakfast, and then went directly to the scene where this all started. We all got out of the car and started walking up the side of the freeway that looked nothing like that night anymore; everything was as if nothing ever transpired there, but I knew and my wife knew that there had.
We walked along the freeway as cars ripped by showing the lawyers what we saw and where everyone was laying on the street. After we finished they took us back to our hotel room and said that they would investigate this to the fullest, and for us not to worry, they said that they were going to try to get this whole thing thrown out because of insufficient evidence. Finally we start thinking that this was going to end real soon and we could go home. We shook their hands and said thank you much for believing in us, and the lawyer said we were welcome, and that they would see us soon. We held each other with a sense of calm for maybe the first time since this ordeal started. .My wife went over to the television and cut it on so she could maybe catch up on some of her favorite shows, and to take her mind off the problems we were presented with. To our amazement there was a story about us on the news, and the prosecutors were having a press conference saying that they thought that they had a good case against us but couldn’t go into any detail until the trial. My wife quickly changed the channel to a movie and came over to sit beside me.
I told her don’t worry this crap will come to an end real soon, I really trust our lawyers, they seem to have a good hold on what we told them, and they truly believe our story is true. She just snuggled closer to me and said nothing. We both fell asleep during the movie that was on, and woke up at about 10 pm that night and got up and showered then went to bed. When we woke up the next morning we decided to go down to the hotel lobby and have breakfast. As we sat eating one of the lawyers called me on my cell phone and asked how we were doing, and I told him as good as we possibly could be doing and asked him what was up. He said we were going to be picked up around 12 Noon for a 1:30 court appearance, and asked me and wife to dress up nicely. I asked again what is going on? He said there has been a break in the case, and I said what break? He said just be ready to go when I send the driver to pick you up and all will be explained at the hearing. My wife and me got up, paid the bill and went back to our room to start getting prepared for the unknown.
We sat waiting for hours watching no television, and listening to no radio, we just sat there together in thought. A rap at the door came and we both got up hand in hand and walked over to open it and it was the driver asking if we were ready to go. I told him as ready as we can be. We went down to the car and got in the back seat, he closed the door and drove us to the municipal court building where there were throngs of reporters waiting for us to get out, flash bulbs were going off even before we opened the door. The driver came around to open the door and we saw our attorneys waiting at the steps of the building. Reporters were asking questions that we didn’t even understand so we just kept our heads down as we walked up the stairs to our defense team. One of the lawyers said to the reporters that we would have a statement when we get through with the court proceedings, and ask that they be patient until then. We followed the attorneys to the Courtroom where there were many people. We saw Mr. Wheeler, the arresting officers, the prosecutors, and the judge among others we had never seen before. We sat at a table in the front of the Courtroom with our attorneys, and at the other table sat the prosecutors and Mr. Wheeler.
The two arresting officers sat behind them. They were all whispering into each other’s ears and looking over to us, and that was not a comforting situation for me and my wife cause we didn’t know what was going to transpire next. The judge started the proceedings with a speech to the defense, and then to the prosecution, then asked for the defense to have their say first. Our defense attorney got up and said your honor these two people have gone through what many would call hell right here on earth, and I wouldn’t wish this upon another soul. They were arrested, held for 48 hours, fingerprinted, had mug shots taken, questioned for hours, and presumed guilty for a crime in which they did not commit. We have evidence from the coroners report that states the two people that were murdered were thrown from a moving vehicle that started a pile up on highway 12 East in which my clients were aiding the injured. The vehicle that victims were thrown from was found one hundred and fifty miles away from that accident abandoned and stolen. We also have learned that the vehicle was registered in the victim’s name. Judge the perpetrators have not been found as of today, but everything possible is being done to catch these criminals.
We have ten people who have come forth to testify that these two were only aiding the injured, and were one of the first to step forward in trying to assist. We ask that all charges be dropped, so that these heroes can be on their way back to where they were going before this all happened, and you honor, that is home. The judge then beckoned for the prosecutor to have his say while me and my wife were hugging and crying uncontrollably. He said your honor a mistake was made here, and while the officers, Mr. Wheeler, and all concerned in this ordeal were simply doing their jobs as best they knew how.
We want to formally apologize to these folks for what must have been absolutely horrific, and we ask that they understand that what happened was called due process, and there was not any other way to resolve this other than what the officers and the court system did. We at this time drop all charges and request that these folks be set free. The judge said “All Rise” and proceeded to thank us for our patience in this matter, and thanked us for being heroes out there helping the injured in a situation where there was for many no hope. He then said this court is adjourned. We got up still holding on to each other and walked out of the courtroom with our lawyers into the hallway where the reporters were waiting, and they immediately started asking us what we were going to do about this injustice towards us. I stopped in my tracks and turned to the crowd of reporters and said “ Were Going to Disneyland!” they all had that question mark all over their faces as we left the building all smiles and got into the car, and watched the lawyers address the throng of reporters saying that these two people just want to go on their way, and there would be no further action taken toward the legal system.
They drove us to our car where we shook their hands and thanked them again for the help they gave us, and told them we would never forget this ordeal for as long as we live. We got into our car and drove to the freeway onramp, and without looking back once we were gone. On our way back the rain started again that night and we happened by another wreck, not close to being as bad as the other but people were hurt. We looked at each other and smiled and let the authorities handle it and we kept our eyes and hopes on a safe journey home.