At any rate, the OP got a drunk off the road and saved lives.
This is a discussion on Citizens Arrest, What Would You DO within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; To the OP, What would you have done had the driver hit your car rather than stop in time? The impact of you getting just ...
To the OP,
What would you have done had the driver hit your car rather than stop in time?
The impact of you getting just in front of him and then stopping suddenly would have been tremendous, for your car and bodies inside to absorb.
Or what if the drunk seeing you stop suddenly had reacted by swerving to avoid impact (rather than braking), and run into a third party vehicle...Coming from t he opposite direction in oncoming traffic unaware of your 'unmarked car' stop action?
Under either condition now you have _caused_ a major motor vehicle collision as well as property damage and injury to multiple persons...And exposed your wife as well as your passenger too to individual personal civil liability, all of you being former police and thus should know better than to act as you did, which you have documented to the 911 operator on tape as being you guys' plan/intent to make a stop and citizens arrest.
As well what was your plan if the guys door did not happen to be unlocked?
That you did not assume the driver was armed is a surprise.
This guy could be anybody. And he could very fairly assume you are anybody. I would.
I don't drink when I drive or arry, as a personal rule learned by proxy from being hit at high rate of speed by a drunk driving woman (racing because she was 'late' to pick her daughter up from school. She never made it.)...But had I been stopped in this fashion in the middle of the road and have two persons sweep out toward me as you did clearly acting aggressive, I would take that to be a furtive action and I would in turn defend myself.
Defend myself meaning if I have to run over one or both of you with my car to defend myself then you can bet that is what I'd do. If I have to hit your car to get away I'd do that too. And don't let me see either of you with a firearm, and I too am armed. I will defend myself.
This story reads to me as being a carjacking or robbery by a pair of highwaymen.
That is very likely what the third party witness saw and thought was going down.
As to your buddy you drew him into great physical risk AND very real personal liability without even asking him muchless giving him the opportunity to back out.
Follow my lead and back me up...What's that?! You guys are a pair of civilians.
Former firemen don't get to respond to and run into burning buildings. Former postmen don't get to walk into a USPS and inspect mail. Former teachers and truant officers don't get to snatch up school skipping kids off the street and march them off to school under force.
Why do former cops, not just you three in this case, very often comment that because they are a former police for any given duration (2 yrs. or greater) feel they have right and power to do what ever they deem in the moment is right and reasonable simply because they used to carry a badge, gun and wear blue clothing?
What is that.
You are a civilian.
Honestly if I had been this driver and _felony stopped_ as you guys did with this guy, I would have fought you. Fight as in to mean resist with great energy and effort.
Draw a gun on me too, and I'm gonna shoot...Or try to disarm either of you, so as to defend my person.
All kinds of really bad could have occurred here, with ease.
I appreciate the fact that you are former police and have experiences as such. But the key here is the word _former_, as in to mean no longer.
Yes you were doing what you felt was right and appropriate and yes you very likely may have saved a persons life and/or that of the driver too from himself.
But equally you are extremely lucky that you got off with nothing more than a tongue lashing from the sherriff, and finger wagging from us.
What would I have done?
The same as I have twice before upon seeing exact same under same conditions; Fall back by at least ten car lengths...Because impact between two cars at speed is _tremendous_, ask me how I know this...Be on the phone with 911 dispatch and as I'm on a highway request that the state police respond immediately (the second time I saw such an event I called the local SP barracks directly as programmed into my phone...They arrived in a matter of literal single digit minutes Dukes of Hazard speed style).
I'd continue to watch, report by phone and pray that nobody gets hurt before the police arrive....And mentally prepare myself for the worst while hoping for the best.
Personally I do not believe in citizens arrest.
Yes it is lawful by narrow and specific margins in many states.
I choose not to step into that morass though.
But then I'm not a former cop and am just an average Joe Blow civilian.
P.S. - Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but disdain for drunk drivers. Disdain.
One cause me great personal, emotional and mental anguish including loss of a career in competitive track & field, which had been my lifetime dream and training focus for 15 yrs. straight into just before my 21st birthday.
It took me a year of painful rehab, addictive prescription drugs which I went off of on my own and rather endured the great physical pain because I noticed I was liking the drugs and didn't want to become strung out junkies like my two uncles, and I had to relearn how to walk and endure having to use a wheelchair, crutches and being told I'd likely never walk again without aid of a cane. I beat that though and can run too now, though not nearly as fast or for as long as i used to be able to do.
I have great personal disdain for drunk drivers. As from direct negative experience.
But still with that said I find this effort by intent and result to be extremely high risk, and not suggested for anyone....But a real cop. Even if just one of you had been a real as in active police, then the remaining two could offer 'backup' as civilian support. But not pulling guns on anyone though regardless of what your cop training had been before.
At any rate, the OP got a drunk off the road and saved lives.
With regards to a citizen's arrest in Oklahoma, I found some interesting items while scouring the statutes.
First, the statute allowing a citizen's arrest:
Now for something interesting:§21-264. False impersonation of peace officers - False insignia on motor vehicle.
A. Any person who shall without due authority exercise or attempt to exercise the functions of or hold himself or herself out to any one as a deputy sheriff, marshal, police officer, constable or peace officer shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by a fine not exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, however, this section shall not be so construed as to prevent private persons from making arrests for felonies or misdemeanors committed in their presence.
There's another provision later for riots that says if an officer requests you to assist in arresting a rioter and you refuse, you are treated as a rioter.§21 537. Refusing to aid officer.
Every person who, after having been lawfully commanded to aid any officer in arresting any person or in retaking any person who has escaped from legal custody, or in executing any legal process, willfully neglects or refuses to aid such officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Allowing the use of force while arresting:
§21-643. Force against another not unlawful, when - Self-defense - Defense of property.
To use or to attempt to offer to use force or violence upon or toward the person of another is not unlawful in the following cases:
1. When necessarily committed by a public officer in the performance of any legal duty, or by any other person assisting such officer or acting by such officer's direction;
2. When necessarily committed by any person in arresting one who has committed any felony, and delivering such person to a public officer competent to receive such person in custody;
§21 732. Justifiable homicide by officer.
A peace officer, correctional officer, or any person acting by his command in his aid and assistance, is justified in using deadly force when: (conditions listed)
All that being said I don't see anything that would technically prevent one from stopping another car if they felt it was necessary. I myself wouldn't risk it unless it was extreme circumstances. However, pulling a gun on the occupants would definitely be a no-go. I agree with whoever said it before. If someone without a badge stopped me and pointed a gun at me I'd be using my vehicle as a weapon.
WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.
I believe that there is some degree of consensus that, given statutes that allow private person's/citizens arrest, such actions would be legal if the proper procedures were followed.
The greater question becomes the level of risk that one is willing to take on behalf others/the public. Undoubtedly prior training, experience and familiarity with the law will effect ones decision, but the question remains.
Some will accept a much higher level of risk than others, in an attempt to enhance the safety of strangers. The decision will be based on many factors that are personal and specific to the individual, so condemnation of a decision in either direction without specific and intimate knowledge of the individual would rarely be valid.
As with many subjects discussed here, each will make their own decision and suffer the consequences, good or bad.
I will say that I was once witness to a "rolling roadblock" one time out on the interstate when a group of tractor trailers decided to "take a drunk driver" off the road late one night. It was pretty impressive how it played out. This was during the days before cell phones, but it was obviously a "coordinated effort" between the truck drivers using their CB radios.
The driver was one of the worst drunks I've witnessed on the road and was clearly at risk of killing a lot of people. I had been a paramedic for well over 10 years at that time and knew well the carnage this driver was capable of.
I had no CB radio or was part of the efforts to stop the driver. I was merely following him because I was afraid to even try to pass him to get away from him. I had already copied his license plate, vehicle description and what the driver looked like and had intended to exit the highway and find a pay phone at my earliest opportunity.
When I saw three truckers come together in front of him and started matching his speed and slowing down I figured out what they were up to. When another trucker came up behind me and flash his lights at me, I knew it was my cue to get out of his way and let him pass me.
They got him boxed in and slowly forced him to a stop in the middle of the interstate.
I'm sure the truckers were in contact with law enforcement on their CB's because we were only stopped about for probably less than two minutes before two State Troopers came flying up from behind us in the median and one was coming from the other direction.
I knew right then and there, it was something I would never try and do on my own, in a civilian vehicle. Way too much risk of being part of a massive highway pile-up on an interstate. Not to mention the possible liability involved in being the catalyst to create that pile-up.
As much as I want to get a drunk off the road before he kills someone, if he does kill people, it's by his hand alone and his responsibility.
If your actions to try and stop him set in motion a car crash that ends up involving other cars on the road and results in death or other serious injuries, you can end up sharing in the culpability and share in the liability along with the drunk driver.
Although you were trying to ultimately do a "good thing", you were the one who set in motion the chain of events which caused the actual crash. Before your intervention, no one would know if the guy would have ultimately caused a wreck or not, but your actions definitely caused a wreck. And chances are good that you'll be sharing in the responsibility for that happening.
I'm just saying...
Yeah, drunk drivers are a menace and no one wants them on the road. But anyone trying to make a traffic stop in a civilian vehicle on the open road is playing a dangerous game.
The "rolling roadblock" I witnessed, was a coordinated effort among truck drivers. They had the mass of their huge rigs pulling forty foot trailers to essentially throw up a wall in front of the guy and slowly, in a controlled manner bring the guy to a stop. Had the guy slammed into them, their size and mass could effectively absorb the impact. But a person trying to do that in a standard size vehicle without the mass and weight of a semi-truck can really start a wreck that leads to a vehicles flying all over the road like a bunch of pin balls in a pinball machine.
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
Even if you happen to hit it right, interfering could be the worst move and create mayhem - as the post above points out. Unless you KNOW with absolute, factual evidence from what you see and hear - with no suppositions on your part whatsoever - that there is a crime being committed AND that you won't make it worse AND that this is the only option that can avert disaster - call the police and don't "arrest" people.
Sounds good but....Unless you KNOW with absolute, factual evidence from what you see and hear - with no suppositions on your part whatsoever - that there is a crime being committed AND that you won't make it worse AND that this is the only option that can avert disaster - call the police and don't "arrest" people.
if you went by that standard, nothing would ever get done...and the badguys would walk the earth unhindered.
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Sounds good but....
if you went by that standard, nothing would ever get done...and the badguys would walk the earth unhindered.
Well, that's the legal standard and that's why there's cops and laws- they know what they're doing (hopefully), we don't. Otherwise we'd all be at the mercy of everybody misinterpreting everyone's behavior and detaining each other or worse.
Indiana Code 35-33-1-4
Any person may arrest any other person if:
(1) the other person committed a felony in his presence;
(2) a felony has been committed and he has probable cause to believe that the other person has committed that felony; or
(3) a misdemeanor involving a breach of peace is being committed in his presence and the arrest is necessary to prevent the continuance of the breach of peace.
In State v. Hart, 669 N.E.2d 762 (Ind. App 1996), the Indiana Appellate Court upheld that DUI is a misdemeanor involving breach of peace and a citizen's arrest is allowed.
That being said, I wouldn't do it.
"'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful." - 1 Corinthians 6:12
I don't think the Apostle Paul was discussing citizen's arrests at the time, but it still applies, IMHO. And if someone wants to imitate this: "We stopped and I went out the drivers side as my friend went out the passengers side. The element of surprise is a wonderful thing, I opened his door, told him he was under arrest, and put him on the ground on the side of the road" - well, he'd best be prepared to die.
I have no reason whatsoever - drunk or sober - to trust the good intentions of someone who forces my car to a stop. They have, at that point and IMHO, used deadly force against me, and now they are threatening me again.
Would you get out of the car, allow someone to disarm you if carrying, and then lie down on the road? And how many drunks have you met who are MORE feisty drunk than sober? What would make anyone think this was a good idea?
Here in FL, I've been behind drunks on the road. I simply stayed behind and called 911...LEO's were (two times in 10 years) quickly on the scene.
I'm only going to be a witness.
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You're lucky he wasn't an off duty cop. He would have tasered you.pulled in front of the DUI vehicle slowing to a rapid stop not allowing him to pass.
A. You're not a cop. (even if you play one on TV.)
B. Citizen's arrest? You're kidding.
C. Road rage? Bingo.
No one has addressed this part of the OP's story:
'I called 911, ...
I told the dispatcher I was going to go ahead and stop the vehicle and arrest the guy before he killed someone. I told her I was a former Gallatin County deputy, I had worked undercover and had stopped vehicles this way many times.'
What was the dispatcher's response, and does that change anything?
AS I see this, the BEST thing you can do is, OBSERVE AND REPORT. Keep your distance with the driver, and observe and report. Keep in contact with the PD, Sheriff's office, or State police, which ever has juristiction on the roads you're traveling. Let the POLICE make the stop, and THEN, tell them (the Police) based on all the bahavior you've witnessed, you wish to make a Citizen's Arrest in their presence. Hopefully, the LEOS will step back, let you read the perp his rights, and then let the LEOS take over from there. If the PD won't let you read the Perp his rights, then you'll make an excellent witness.
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