NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH — An 18-year-old pulled over for speeding at 100 mph got more than a ticket from a police officer in the Cleveland suburb of North Ridgeville — a brutal trip to the metaphorical woodshed in the form of an open letter the officer posted on Facebook. “Slow down,” the emotional letter concluded. “Please. You are not invincible. I promise.”
The officer, who wasn’t named, stopped the teen for driving 100 mph in a 65 mph zone. “You’re welcome,” the officer wrote in the Facebook post. “I’d like to believe that you were minutes away from creating an unspeakable Christmas tragedy when I stopped you. If not only killing yourself, you were well on your way to killing some innocent person who was minding their own business doing nothing else wrong but being in front of you.”
The teen, who the officer said was visibly shaken and scared when he was stopped, said he didn’t realize how fast he was going, according to the post, which has been shared nearly 150,000 times, generated 93,000 “likes” and received 13,000 comments.
“That’s a lie,” the post continued. “You may not realize when you’re doing 45 in a 35 but you are fully aware of every mile per hour at 100. You realize it with every bump you hit. You realize it as you pass cars so fast the wind moves your car. You realize it every time you drift over the line and when you move the wheel the car reacts a lot quicker than you’re used to. You absolutely realized it.”
The officer went on to describe in horrifying detail some of the crash scenes that result when drivers speed.
“I can tell you dozens of stories of dead and broken 18 year old bodies that I’ve pulled from cars. Broken bodies that I’ve found in front yards after crashes. Unrecognizable bodies. They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t. They were gone so they missed the part where I had to tell their parents that they were dead. Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead.”
It’s not just words when parents tell their kids to drive safely and carefully, the officer wrote:
“That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe. When they get a knock on the door, it’s not ‘Good afternoon ma’am. Your 18 year old son just had a massive heart attack.’ It’s ‘Can we sit down? Your son has been involved in a very serious crash. I’m so sorry. He’s died.’ When you leave the house they know that, far and away, the best chance you have of dying that day is in that car. Sometimes you’re the innocent person hit by someone with no regard for anyone else and sometimes you’re the one with no regard for anyone else. Today you were the latter.”
The young speeder “seemed like a really nice kid who made a bad decision,” wrote the officer, who was unapologetic about writing up the teen.
“In fact, I’m proud of it. I hope you’re paying it off for months and with every payment you think about how it wasn’t worth it. I hope you slow down. I hope that when your mom tells you to ‘drive safe’ you make a promise to her, and yourself, that you will,” the officer wrote. “I hope you can envision me sitting in your kitchen telling your screaming mother that you have been killed.”
Read the full post.
Photo via North Ridgefield, Ohio, Police Department