Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame

Don't Cross the Yellow Line

Story ID:10638
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
View Comments (5)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
It was a normal commute home; it would soon change.

I sat in the left lane of the two lanes of traffic headed west. The light ahead was
red. To the left and about thirty feet ahead, was a left turn lane. I wanted to be there, so I
wouldn’t miss the green turn signal. I cut across the yellow line and got into the left
turn lane.

The left turn signal turned green. The cars ahead and I moved forward and made
the left turn. In my rearview mirror, I saw a police car. I looked to my right. The lane was
clear, so I put on my signal to move into the right hand lane. The police car did the same.

I knew he was going to pull me over for crossing the yellow line.

My heart rate began to climb. The lights on top of the police car began to flash.
He blared his siren briefly. I did the correct thing. I put on my blinker to indicate I
was pulling over, but waited until I came to a side street, where I and the officer could
be off the busy main street.

I found a safe spot and pulled to the curb. The police car followed me like an
angry bee.

As I waited for him to come to my window, I pulled out my wallet, retrieved my driver’s license and lowered my window.

He appeared at my door. “I saw you cross the yellow line back there.”

“I know officer. It was really stupid of me.”

“Can I see your license, registration and insurance papers?”

I handed him my license, reached into my glove box, retrieved my envelope of

It had been about twelve years since I’d been pulled over for anything. I was
scared to death. My hands shook horribly, as I looked for the correct paper work for him.

“Are you OK?” he asked. “You seem nervous.”

“I am nervous.”


“It’s been awhile since I’ve been pulled over.”

“You’re really sweating. Have you been drinking tonight?”

“No, sir; I’m just on my way home from work.”

“Sit here! I’ll be right back.”

I did as I was told.
He returned.

There were now three police cars around me. “Are you sure you haven’t been
drinking, Mr. Smith.”

“I assure you, officer. I have not been drinking.”

“No recreational drugs?”


“Well, I’m looking at you and thinking you are on something.”

“I’m just nervous.”

“Step out of the car, Mr. Smith.”

I stood on the sidewalk, shaking with fear.

“Look at yourself.” the officer said. “You’re shaking and sweating. I think
you are on something.”

“I’m just nervous.”

“I don’t believe you.”

He put me through a field sobriety test.

I now know I cannot walk heal-to-toe with my head down and hands at my side.
For the life of me, I could not do it.

They tried several balancing tests on me, which I failed.

The officer said, “You are under arrest.” He snapped cuffs on my wrists and
stuffed me in the back of his cruiser.

We waited fifteen minutes and then he gave me a breathalyzer test. My reading
was zero. He waited five more minutes, repeated the test and received the same results.

The cuffs on my wrists hurt. I sat sideways on the hard plastic seat.

“I’m going to have to take you to the station for a drug evaluation.”

“I swear I am not on anything.” I whined.

“We’ll see.”

We arrived at the station. The cuffs were starting to cut into my wrists. The
officer opened the door and helped me out. I walked to the receiving area in the back
of the building. Three bicycle officers stood and frowned at me.

I felt like a criminal. With cuffs on, I guess I looked like one.

They took all my belongings, my belt and shoes and put me in a cell.

Alone, with my thoughts, all I could think was, “I’m not under the influence of
anything, but I called Ginny when I left work. She is going to be worried. We both lost
our first spouses. I don’t want her scared.”

The officer opened the cell. “Come with me, Mr. Smith.”

He led me to room and introduced me to his fellow drug investigator.

I spent three hours being tested. I never could walk heal-to-toe. They measured
my pupils in the light and the dark with a light shining from my peripheral vision. They
monitored my blood pressure. They had me stand on one foot with the other stuck out
in front of me.

I failed the balancing act.

I just don’t have the balance I used to have. I explained to the officers, “I had
surgery on my ankle two weeks ago and also suffer from sciatica, which causes
numbness in my right shin.”

Throughout the whole ordeal, I kept pleading to call Ginny. “You are putting
a good woman in fright. We both lost our first spouses. Please don’t make her think she
lost another.”

The arresting officer looked at me. “Will you calm down if I call her?

I gave him Ginny’s number.
I heard him in the hallway, “Is this Miriam?”


“Are you the wife of Michael Smith?”
At this point I was two hours late. Ginny (Miriam) was terrified. “Oh my God!
Is he OK?”

“He is fine, but we have him in custody.”

They talked for awhile. Ginny confirmed what I told the officers. I had surgery
on my ankle and had sixty pain killers prescribed to me. I never took one of them. She
said, “You have a man in custody who puts on his cruise control going down the
boulevard, so he won’t go over the speed limit.”

They stuffed me back in the holding cell and went off to talk about me.

A few minutes later, they returned and released me. “We have decided you are
not under the influence, but perhaps you should see your doctor. That balance problem
needs to be checked.”

Lesson learned, don’t cross the yellow line.

Michael T. Smith