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A 3 a.m. wake-up call on Fifth Avenue

I sometimes see situations where I wonder how I would react. About 3 a.m. Monday (don’t ask), I was heading east on Fifth Avenue, set to turn right onto Highway 16. There was a vehicle in the southbound left-turn lane and another one in the through lane closest to me, so I paused to wait in case the light changed to green for them.

As I waited, I saw in my peripheral vision another vehicle in the eastbound through lane, but that didn’t concern me too much.

The light did turn green for the southbound traffic, and the truck in the turn lane started to make its turn.

As it did so, the vehicle in the through lane suddenly popped on its flashing lights, revealing it as an unmarked police car, and started to also turn left.

At almost the same time, the vehicle sort of behind me in the eastbound lane also popped on its flashing lights, showing it was a marked police car, and it started through the intersection as well.

I can only imagine how I would feel if I was the driver of the pickup turning left onto Fifth Avenue. It’s 3 a.m., you’re making a simple left-hand turn with no other traffic around, and suddenly there are two police vehicles with lights on right behind you.

I was making my turn by now, so I didn’t see what happened, but I did see the truck make its turn and immediately pull off the road to the right, as it’s supposed to do.

I can’t imagine the police vehicles were after the truck,  because they wouldn’t have needed both of them at that point, so I’m assuming they went by the truck and proceeded down Fifth Avenue.

If nothing else, if the driver was starting to relax because they were almost at their destination, the flashing lights would have been quite a wake-up call.

I was also very happy neither of the police vehicles used their sirens because there was no need to. The lights would serve as enough warning to other vehicles to clear the way.

As I was proceeding along the highway, I found my thoughts drifting in a different direction: How would the police vehicles have reacted if the truck driver had turned onto Fifth, saw their lights, and sped up to avoid them?

My guess is one of them would have kept going to the original call while the other one updated dispatch on what was happening and possibly stayed in pursuit of the truck.

I guess I’ll never know. Another one of the great mysteries of life.

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