Voices

| April 11, 2005

“Already calling, Red. Guess all your police stories left some kind of impression.” Red had been a Missouri state patrolman for 15 years before an injury ended his career.

“Well, 10 years of friendship hasn’t been all wasted then,” returned Red. “But be careful around this guy. I wouldn’t want to have to tell Libby her godfather was going to miss her sixth birthday. I wonder how well this guy knows the area. We need to find a way to communicate with the other drivers.”

Flipping back to Channel 19, Red asked, “Hey, Blue Buick, that was pretty smart of you to be listening on the CB. Didn’t mean to leave you out of our conversation. You travel this way a lot?”

“Yes. I’m a tool salesman for the Ohio-Kentucky-Tennessee area. Sometimes I take my daughter with me on trips in the summer. We have fun – don’t we, Melissa?”

“Please, Mister, my name is Karey. Can I go back to my Mommy now?”

Red and the others were quiet when they heard Karey’s voice. The Blue Buick raced up the next hill.

As Red topped the hill, he spotted a police helicopter approaching from the direction of Lexington. Red knew the Blue Buick had to be stopped before hitting Elizabethtown traffic.

“Red, come get me,” Farmer said as they both changed channels. “The police want to set up a stop sticks trap, but we need to notify the others to stay back or we’ll all be buying new tires. I told them about you. They asked if you could keep a conversation going with the guy to keep him preoccupied until he’s hit the trap. It’s being set up at mile marker 12.”

Just then, a Kentucky State Patrol car slipped between Farmer and Big Dog. The Blue Buick was a mile ahead now and 34 miles from Elizabethtown.

Red remembered another time, another car chase. His best friend’s son had been used as a hostage after a foiled bank robbery. Red pursued the robbers to the Missouri Aubuchon Road off 370 just outside St. Louis. The robbers pulled into the path of an oncoming semi. The trucker tried to swerve but hit them. They careened off the road and flipped, throwing the boy from the car. The two robbers had been trapped in the car. Red was trying to rescue one of the robbers when the car exploded, severely burning Red. One robber lived to go to trial, but the little boy died. Red quit the force shortly afterward. He had been driving semi with Farmer’s company the last five years. He didn’t know if he could go though that again.

“Farmer, signal Big Dog to go to Channel 25 when Blue gets over this next hill.”

When Blue was out of sight, Farmer signaled a two-five out his window as he spoke into the CB. “Hey, Big Dog. Can you see me up here?”

“Yeah, Man, I’m coming up and over.”

“Big Dog, go around me. I can’t keep up, and you may need to pull up beside Red so that guy in the Buick can’t back up. There won’t be any traffic coming on the highway. The police have blocked the last entrance ramps between here and Elizabethtown. Just keep your eyes on Red and use this channel if he signals a change. I’ll stay in touch with the cops.” With that, Farmer backed down, and Big Dog pulled past him with his 550 Cat engine purring.

“Mr. Blue Buick,” Red said, back on channel 19, “that’s a mighty pretty little girl. You take her with you often?

“Yeah. Her mom died a year ago, and she lives with my sister when I’m on the road.”

“That must be hard. Sorry, man. How did your wife die?” Red asked, passing mile marker 30.

“We were taking a family vacation. It got real foggy as we neared Nashville, and we ended up in a 30-car pileup. My wife was killed and my little girl severely injured. I stayed with her day and night. They said she wouldn’t make it, but I prayed and promised God I would be a better Dad.”

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