Chapter 64

July 8th, 2011

Incidents Aplenty

Traffic on I-83 North was fairly heavy for July 2nd, as I left my condo in East York for the outskirts of the quaint old village of Adam's Junction, but I was at the mountain road leading up to The Cabin, in a just a few minutes. It was 90°F/ Heat Index 103°F when I left York, but only 68°F up in the mountains, with all the large trees and shade. I had my Pendleton Woolen Shirts and Corduroy Barn Coat along. I had also called Randy, who cares for The Cabin and Jenny (the mixed-breed dog I found along the road, rescued, and bought from her owners for $150) while I'm away, and told him that I'd be up for the weekend, starting Saturday afternoon, and that he could stand down until Tuesday morning. Pulling into the 1,000ft gravel drive, the "Princeton"® American Elms (Ulmus Americana) which Tim Swanson and I had planted last Fall, and lined the driveway with, looked another 1-2ft taller than since I was here just last week, with the periodic rain they'd gotten up here, while York's in a drought again, for the 16th or 17th year; I've lost track now.

I parked in the circle turnaround, disarmed the building, began bring my stuff inside and Jenny leapt at me in joy to see me again, that she knocked me down once again, as she had last week. I'll bet she weighs close to 75lbs. I rolled around on the floor with her, brushed her, rubbed her belly, fed and watered her, turned-on the AC and finished bringing-in my gear. After unpacking, I locked the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and grabbed a shower and some fresh clothes, and plopped myself down in the Living Room's comfy chair to rest. I called Capt Clay Atler at the AJ Police Station & Town Hall, and just left a voice mail letting him know I was around for the weekend. He was still limping around from being shot in the leg with .00 buckshot, the previous weekend; at least that's what the PD Dispatcher said when she called me back and said that Clay was en route to see me, with the new Deputies Jon, Arthur and Alan, hired 6/22/11 right out of The PA State Police Academy, and "green" as hell. The four arrived in under 10 minutes, and I welcomed them inside.

Clay and the 3 Deputies sat down in the LR, drank some Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry-Pomegranate Juice and we talked about many things, much of which was my "storied and legendary history" in Adam's Junction, since buying The Cabin and 43 acres last year. Clay wanted me to give him, them and the other 3 Deputies "shooting lessons", far and beyond what they'd gotten at The Academy, so they could shoot like me, and didn't wind-up dead like Deputy Bob killed on 5/1/11, and Deputy Charles killed on 5/19/11, in shootouts where they were unprepared, and outgunned. That never happened with me; I was always 5-6 steps and many calibers of firearms ahead of everyone else mainly due to my US Army 101st Airborne 5th Special Forces training and Sniper work in VietNam, in the late 60s. I frankly told Clay that unless he invested in some "serious hardware", instead of police-issued Glock .40cals and Remy 870 12ga Pump Shotguns, that their shooting prowess really wouldn't matter. They needed power, range and accuracy and only four (relatively) inexpensive weapons would provide that: the AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, the Beowulf® .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, and 335gr .50cal rounds, and the Full-Auto, Class III Bushmaster AR-15 .223 cal (5.56 x.45mm NATO) with a Trijicon Acog 4 x 32 Scope, and as a sidearm, the Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP in a Galco FED Holster for 5" Kimber .45cal with a Galco Dual 8-Round Mag Carrier for the Kimber .45cal, such as I carry. Otherwise, it's a waste of my time to train them and him, as well as the other Deputies. He understood and said he'd get the funding if I'd put a "list" together of what's needed. I said I would do that gladly. They all left for the PD Station, and I had some shopping to do at Bev & Tony's General Store, before they closed for the weekend, so I armed the building and left for town. Last week was their picnic, as they'd all be on patrol this weekend for drunks and accidents, and I volunteered to go out on patrol, too. He gladly accepted my offer.

Bev had left for the day, but Tony was there and I filled my list of stuff for the weekend. Then I stopped by Old Mrs Patagonia's Bakery and got fresh Italian Bread and "Hot Cross Buns", gassed-up at Roy's Shell Gas & Service Station, Randy's father's place, and headed back to The Cabin for the night. It was actually getting cool – down to 54°F – and I decided to turn-off the AC and light the Living Room Hearth for a few hours, do some reading and get to sleep early, as usual. I was tired and wanted sleep more than anything else, so I'd take 2 Rx 1mg Lunesta and sleep late in the Master Bedroom. I was worn-down from working 7-day weeks for so many months and years, that 2 nights of 9-10 hours of sound sleep each, would help me a lot right now.

After the fire had died-down, I armed the building, checked the front/rear spotlights, took my weapons into the BR, with the Kimber .45cal on the nightstand, and rifles in their carrying bags, in the closet. I took the sleeping pills, climbed into bed and drifted-off into la-la land. Jenny quickly joined me at the foot of the bed. The thunder, lightening and rain woke me around 5am, but I went back to sleep until 9.

Needless to say, at 7am when I got-up I was somewhat "groggy" from the 2 sleeping pills and more sleep than I was accustomed to, so after splashing cold (from the well) water on my face to wake-up a bit, I fed and watered Jenny, had some OJ, made Poached Eggs with Grits & whole grain toast and French Roast drip (Turkish grind from whole beans) coffee for myself, and heard the roof noise that it was still raining lightly. Disarming the building, and opening the front door to the screen door, I watched the rain dance on the newly-waxed Jeep and across the 3-4 acre meadow leading down to the stream and pond. The crushed stone drive had a few small streams of water flowing across it from the backside of the property to the meadow and downhill to the stream. I just hoped York got some of this and that my Nursery Complex, which had been "fried" in Friday's and Saturday's oppressive heat, got a lot of it. Today was supposed to be in the mid-90s there, and unless the well pumps were working properly, nothing would get watered and I'd have a lot of leaf damage on Tuesday. I felt like driving back to check on things, but I trusted that things would go as planned. Besides, driving right now was out-of-the-question, until the "grogginess lifted". It would soon, now that I'd eaten breakfast. Soon enough, thousands of people and their families would be heading to their various Churches, for 9am Services.

At about 10am, and feeling much more alert, I decided to drive through the residential section of my former 10-square block patrol area, past the Johnson Home, Acton Home, the Franklin's Mansion, the Adam's Mansion, the Henderson home, the Adam's Junction Bed & Breakfast Inn, and the Jefferson Mansion. Adam's Junction was where I'd want to retire, if it actually existed.

My patrol route was now the Adams'-Madison Picnic Grounds, where last week's picnic was, on the west side of town. It'd be at least a 20-minute drive, past the Police & City and Fire Stations, through the Town Square and just 3 miles from Nell's Kitchen Drive-In Restaurant, in Adam's-Madison Park. I took my AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO) ammo, my Beowulf .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, and 335gr .50cal rounds and Remy 11-87 Semi-Automatic 12ga Shotgun with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, along in the Jeep's backseat. My Deputy Badge & ID went for the patrol, too. I stopped at the Police Station for my gear, clipboard and instructions, and found that I'd have company: new Deputy Alan would be my partner for the day. It was 11:30am and the Churches were letting-out.

We loaded the Jeep with our issued gear, and set-out for the prescribed route, criss-crossing Deputies Tim, Alex and Lee's routes, covering all of Adam's Junction and it outer-environs. Capt Clay had 4 more new, "state-of-the-art cruisers" on order and they'd be here in a week or so, but for right now, we'd be doubling-up with the new Deputies, "showing them the ropes", as it were. (Deceased Deputies Bob's and Charles' cruisers were totalled by the insurance company due to massive bullet damage and nothing was salvageable; I saw the pictures and both were ambushed and mercilessly-shot-to-pieces, as were their two cars. We'd find those responsible and exact "our own revenge", to be sure.) The old 10-block patrol section had now been tripled to a 30-block area and we'd be covering a whole lot more area and possible incidents.

First call at 12:15pm: Deputy Tim and new Deputy Jon need back-up for a "domestic disturbance" (I hate these; they are very dangerous) at a cabin in the north end mountains, so we sped quickly to the address the AJPD Dispatcher gave us over the radio. When we cautiously arrived, we found Tim's cruiser parked on the driveway, near the house, with a rear side window shot-out, and Tim and Jon crouching behind some trees. The drunk on the front porch, a big fat redneck, had an illegally sawed-off Mossberg 12ga, and was gulping down "yellow shine" from a Ball Mason Jar®, with his buddy armed with a 30-06 deer rifle and another jar of shine. My jeep would make an inviting target if I got too close, so I parked on the road against some tall brush for camouflage (crypsis), grabbed my AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, some extra mags and snuck into the woods also behind some large Oak trees. I sighted-in on the fat, drunken slob with the potent deer rifle, and shot him in the hand, causing him to drop the gun, and his booze. Both of them ran inside the cabin and slammed the front door, leaving the rifle on the porch with a lot of blood and some of his hand. Tim and Jon ran to their cruiser and backed it out of the driveway on to the hard road. I scoped all the windows and didn't see anything moving, so I told Deputy Alan to radio Capt Clay and ask what he wants us to do: bring them in or shoot 'em and call the Coroner? Clay said to arrest and bring 'em in. Crap, that wasn't going to be easy. No telling what guns they had inside that cabin or who else was inside with them.

Just as I started to sneak over to another tree and work my way closer to the house, the cabin door opened and 4 men and 3 women came out with their hands-up, shouting, "We give up!" Tim, Jon and Alan moved quickly to the porch and cuffed each of them, while I covered the windows with the AR-10, from about 150ft away, much too close for its 300-700 yard range. And then I saw it: a man in the second floor window with another deer rifle, beginning to take aim at the 3 Deputies. I shot him "cleanly" in the "Sniper's Triangle", just "below the throat and between the nipples", causing instant death. The others were cuffed but hit the porch floor after I fired, and the Deputies drew their (useless, IMO) Glock .40cal sidearms, instinctively. But it was over in a second. I went upstairs with my Kimber .45cal drawn and found the fat slob, whom I'd shot through the hand a few minutes before, with it wrapped in a bloody rag, quite dead on the floor, bled-out. I called Capt Clay for prisoner transport and the Coroner's "Wagon" for "Bubba". After the AJPD Prison Van arrived and all were loaded, the Coroner took charge of the scene and body, and we taped-off the house and drive for CSI investigation of the shooting, after plenty of pictures had been taken and statements recorded. Deputy Alan and I resumed our route, while Deputies Tim and Jon handled the rest of it.

It was now 2:15pm, and Capt Clay wanted to set-up a DUI Checkpoint at the Town Square, although everything was closed and little traffic was moving right now, we did so. The Dept of Public Works had dropped-off 15 barricades, which Deputy Alan and I set-up to funnel traffic into a single lane, so we could stop every 4th or 5th vehicle to check driver IDs, registration, insurance and possible alcohol usage. We were just a block or so away from the old Carriage House & Library, and it was quiet so far, with mostly families headed to picnics at relatives and friends homes.

At 3pm, we got the call: "drunken drag racing on Rte 15, with accidents", which cut through the western section of town, from I-83 north and south. I opened the stop barricade to let all traffic through, and Deputy Alan and I jumped into the Jeep to get to the scene of carnage. It was bad; in fact, the closer we got, the worse it looked. Two "60s muscle cars" had collided with some drunken spectators on an empty section of road, and wrapped themselves around a couple of phone/ power poles, shearing-off the poles and dropping "hot wires" onto the vehicles and road. Both cars were aflame as the gas tanks had exploded from coming into contact with 1,000+ volts and fried the cars' occupants and 15-20 drunken boys who'd been standing under the wires when they fell. It was awful. We had to call in an emergency crew from PP&L Co (Penna Power and Light Co), the AJ Fire Dept, Memorial Hospital ambulances and other Police back-up for this horror scene. Alan threw-up his just-eaten lunch behind the Jeep; I'd seen much worse in VietNam 37 years ago, but it bothered me terribly that so many young kids were dead, that I felt sick too. All we could do is route the northbound traffic across the median grass strip into the right-side southbound lane around the accident, with traffic cones separating traffic going two directions on a 4-lane road, now down to 2-lanes. That 2-lane northbound section would be closed indefinitely, while utility, fire and clean-up crews did their jobs. Ours was mere traffic control, now.

By 3:45pm, Capt Clay pulled-up in his shiny new Chief's Cruiser with all the cool equipment and latest electronics, and said that PA State Police from the Harrisburg Barracks were going to relieve us, as we were needed back at the Town Square for the completely-unmanned DUI Checkpoint. They had all 1,500 Troopers on-duty statewide, and could spare 3-4 for this mess, while our little local department, couldn't. Gratefully, we left after they'd assumed command of the scene, with many more bodies, burned beyond recognition, being uncovered in the wreckage. Their Forensics Lab would be very busy ID-ing all those kids properly for their families. Too sad to happen anytime, but especially on The 4th of July Holiday. We left and drove back to town.

It was getting on to 5pm, and traffic in town had picked-up as more and more people were traveling to and from picnics and parties. We began stopping every 4th vehicle and having them pull over to a parking space, for a "quick check". In the next 3 hours, no DUIs, but several other traffic violations were cited. It was now getting dusk, and the Town Square light were on, and we'd be staying until around midnight, according to Capt Clay. I'd called-in an order of BBQ and homefries with a pint of whole milk from Nell's Kitchen Drive-In Restaurant, and they delivered; Deputy Alan still didn't feel well from that horrific crash scene earlier, so he skipped dinner and just drank bottled water. He'll get used to it but hopefully never again on that scale of unnecessary death and destruction.

The fireworks were scheduled for 8:45pm at the Picnic Grounds and we'd easily be able to see them from here. By 9pm, they were just starting, after long-winded Matt Smith, the Mayor, gave a much longer speech than was planned. The Town Square was deserted, except for us, sitting on a bench watching for oncoming vehicles and the ongoing fireworks. For such a small, virtual place, it was quite a display, lasting almost 35 minutes. I was impressed, but Deputy Alan just got sicker. I told him to drink some more water and lie down on a park bench, or go throw-up in the park woods. At 10:30pm, I got a call from Capt Clay telling us to "wrap it up" for the night. We took the barricades down and stacked them where the Public Works guys had left them for us that morning, and went back to the PD Station to check out for the night. After turning-in our citation copies, gear and other paperwork, I signed-out and headed back to The Cabin to get some sleep. It'd been a long day, and being in charge of a "rookie cop" wasn't my idea of a good day's work. I only did it because Clay asked me to, but sooner rather than later, Deputy Alan would have to make it on his own or Capt Clay would cut him loose and get another rookie from The Academy. I had my doubts about Alan's longevity on the AJPD team.

It was almost 11:30pm when I pulled into the driveway and parked by the side deck in the circle turnaround, locked the Jeep, disarmed the building and went inside. Jenny was happy to see me. I fed and watered her, brushed her and grabbed a shower and some fresh clothes for the night. After the deaths of all those kids, I just "felt dirty" and needed to "wash the day's events off of me". No fire or reading tonight, just sleep. I turned the AC on to 77°F, checked the spotlights, armed the building and realized that I didn't have to be into the AJPD Station to start my "volunteer shift", as I'd only volunteered for yesterday's "crowd & traffic control" duty. I had the day all to myself. Not much would be open in town, but I could sleep late instead and catch-up on some reading or shopping; whatever I wanted to do. No sleeping pills needed tonight; I was tired and fell asleep in under 5 minutes.

Up at 7am to feed and water Jenny, I went back to sleep in my comfy bed in the Master BR until 9;45am, since I basically had nothing to do today. I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast with coffee, took Jenny for a walk so she could "do her business in the meadow" – Randy says she hardly ever uses the litter pans in the 2nd Bedroom anymore – and decided to do some "chores" around The Cabin, since it'd be next Saturday afternoon until I'd get back, having Sundays off in July & August, and not having another 3-day weekend until Labor Day in September (Monday the 5th).

I did the dishes and let them dry in the dbl-sink rack, checked split firewood supplies – more than enough for 2-3 years – and vacuumed the various Braided & Oriental rugs all over the beautiful hardwood floors in The Cabin, did laundry, put new linens on the Master BR's bed, washed clothes in another load, cleaned windows, cleaned the Bathroom, and rested in between the numerous jobs. Jenny helped a lot with the chores.

I decided to close-down early, leave Adam's Junction and head down to my business to make sure that everything was functioning properly, especially the nearly 3-4 miles of Drip & Overhead Sprinkler Irrigation Systems I have for the 20 acres of plant material. If those things failed, I'd be out-of-business, very quickly. At 85-90°F, plants have a very short lifespan without enough potable water. After packing my duffel bag and loading the weapons, feeding and watering Jenny, calling Randy and letting him know that I was leaving and that he'd be back in-charge of The Cabin and Jenny until next Saturday afternoon, I loaded the Jeep, turned-off the AC, set the lights and alarm system on automatic, re-armed the building and left for I-83 south. Severe t-storm warnings for this afternoon and evening were posted on the various radio stations, so I had to unplug some motherboards on the Irrigation System Controllers, or they'd get "fried" by lightening strikes.

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