Friday, March 11, 2011

804-JAN Part 2

Sorry Part 2 took a couple of days. Nusbaum and I had to check the legal ramifications of our adventure (which for any law enforcement officers reading from here on out shall be filed under "fiction"). Turns out the statute of limitations for being an asshole teenager ran out a long while ago for us.

So, the chase was on.

We tore down Pennsylvania Avenue in hot pursuit of 804-JAN.

It stands to note that if my adrenaline hadn't been going a million miles a minute several questions would have probably crossed my mind...
*Why were we chasing someone we didn't know?
*Why was he running from us?
*What would happen if we caused an accident?
*What would happen if we caught 804-JAN?

Nope didn't care.  Since I'm writing this in 2011 and Charlie Sheen is foremost on everyone's minds.  WINNING!  That was the only thought I truly had.  Nusbaum as my wingman didn't seem to mind as he worked to keep the faster vehicle perpetually in our sites.

We shot across Fort Street and were working our way into Wyandotte.  804-JAN had a lead and was capitalizing on it because the Mustang was more than a match for the Buick.  So, I decided to push an insane situation to the next level.  I needed to gain ground so I did the only thing I could.

I pretty much threw all the rules of legal driving out the window.   I zipped across the double-yellow to pass a semi (narrowly dodging an oncoming car).  I ran a light, and then a STOP sign...or three.  I made hairpin turns at top speed sending some of the loudest SCREECHES you could imagine through the neighborhoods.

We had 804-JAN in our sites and we were right on top of him.  Then he pulled his own special manuver and made a surprise left turn...I overshot him.  I then made the next left and continued my 65+ mph speed through a 25mph community.  Luckily it was late so the kids, and most adults, were in bed.

We raced at top speed through the area of 15th and 17th streets.  Afew times we could actually see the 'stang between houses on the next street over.  He was slowing down since he foolishly thought he had lost us.

The Beast shot ahead and I cut over, "intercepting" our quarry!  804-JAN was shocked to say the least.  He made a fast turn and did a 180 racing back towards Pennsylvania Avenue.  My energy once more got the better of me and I had to pull into a driveway to turn around...killing our momentum.  But, I made up for it with "pedal to the metal" time (I'm sure the tire marks are still burned into that concrete).

Once more 804-JAN was in our site, but another fast turn and he got the better of us.  We were somewhere between Electric Avenue and Biddle.  There was a series of warehouses and storage areas, and in one moment the White Mustang was visible...and in the next he had vanished (just like Keyser Soze).
The trick was doubly amazing since we ended up at a deadend...staring at a brick wall.  I stopped the car and we got out and looked around.  Listening.  NOTHING.

"Now how did he do that?"  I asked.

"No clue," Nusbaum replied.  This was doubly shocking since Nusbaum rarely was left without an answer to a pondering situation.

"What do we do now?"

"Let's go back to his apartment and look for him."

Like Batman and Robin we jumped back into the car, set the "Turbines to Speed" and returned to where the chase began...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

804-JAN - Part 1

When I was 17 my best friend Nusbaum and I used to enjoy playing the occasional game with other cars. It seemed like simple mindless fun, but in looking back on our high speed chases, of which there were many…we’re lucky to be alive.

Our routine was simple. We’d usually go out and see a movie, stop at the 7-11 and grab some snacks and then spend the time between 9pm and midnight cruising around some neighboring towns…following people. I’d be driving my 1978 Buick Regal (which I fondly called "The Beast").  Nusbaum was the “spotter”. That’s all we would do - follow. We’d just pick a car and say, “Ok. Follow them.” Every turn a chosen driver made…we’d make the same turn. We’d keep a close distance too. Amazing how many drivers never noticed, even when we were the only other car on the road with them. We’d tag along with cars as they took a complicated route home for miles and miles. Heck, occasionally we’d pull up into the person’s driveway and then back up and leave. Not so much as a startled look.
That was until we met 804-JAN.
804-JAN (or the closest pic I could find)
If memory serves we had just come from a screening of the Billy Crystal – Gregory Hines movie Running Scared at the Southgate 4 cinema. We stopped off got some Big Gulps and candy and picked a white 1986 Ford Mustang to follow. Hey, the guy just picked the wrong time to pass us by.
Our following began. For us there was just something so amusing about a car chase that only one party was in on. The Mustang drove on and the following continued.

As we drove behind license plate 804-JAN, we chuckled to ourselves at how funny it would be if the driver noticed us. Again…stupid fun and just oh so lame.

804-JAN made a turn into a nearby apartment complex. My Buick followed at a casual speed. We passed through several parking bays, turned near some buildings, and worked our way to the back of the complex. As we drove the Mustang seemed to be inching away from us. It was noticeable at each turn as we started to see less and less of it. Eventually we had to guess at the direction the car went. At the final left available to us, we turned into a parking lot that was a dead end.

The real "Beast" ended up under a I could find.
Our target was nowhere to be seen.

I looked over at Nusbaum with a “what the hell?” expression.
We scanned the parking lot which was fairly crowded with cars but couldn’t see the Mustang. By this time it was easily 10pm so the darkness was not our ally. After a few seconds I opened my door, the light came on, and I stood outside of the car. Nusbaum did the same on his side. We kept looking and looking. Finally beyond the row of cars at the opposite side of the parking lot I saw 804-JAN. The driver was sitting in the car, lights off, engine running. He had managed to drift around the dead end parking lot and get back to the entrance.

“THERE HE IS!” I said as I pointed.

I’m not really sure what 804-JAN was expecting from us, but at my gesture he floored his car with a squeal of the tires and tore out of the parking lot at a dangerous rate of speed.
Nusbaum and I jumped into “The Beast” and gave chase.

We took the same way out of the parking lot that we had taken in…but at an incredibly dangerous rate of speed. Each turn came at a blazing rate and it was clear the Buick could turn and accelerate anywhere close to the Mustang.

When 804-JAN came to the apartment’s entrance and the major intersection, he didn’t stop, nor slow down, but made the turn with a tremendous screech of his tires.

To this day I’m not sure what I was thinking…but I followed. The brake wasn’t even touched. For some reason my brain was telling my body that it was just like being in a car chase in a movie and we’d be “perfectly fine”. Had Nusbaum leaned over and told me to slow down I’m sure it would have snapped me back to reality and the endeavour that we were now a part of. But, the adrenaline was pumping and stopping was no longer an option.

At about 70 miles per hours the Mustang and Buick raced down Pennsylvania Avenue…this chase was just starting…