*This and a few following posts, the exact number unknown at this time, are a retelling as accurate as I can give of the last five days of my life which have been full of some of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever made it through, but which also lead to some of the most profound and startling realizations and epiphanies of my life. While these entries are not directly about animals themselves, the animals in my own life were impacted greatly by the events that occurred, as well as many of these events causing me to examine the predicaments of the various animals that come into “shelters” and animal control centers everywhere. I have chosen to be brutally honest, and realize while some may judge me, others will appreciate my honesty and hopefully a few will maybe learn something from my experiences. The specifics of which ALL will come to be revealed in the the telling of my story.*
it was a beautiful early spring day in the Colorado Rockies. i had just recently left the local branch of the salvation army who was going to give me some temporary assistance with living expenses. i was on my way out of the town of Avon Colorado, headed east back towards home. I briefly considered taking the back road to the next town over, where i needed to run some more errands, as the plates on my car were expired and i knew i was taking a chance at getting pulled over because of it.
life had once again presented itself to be a “challenge” to say the least. i had suffered another job loss; this time the employer claiming that i was terminated for cause. because of this, i was denied unemployment benefits and was basically penniless while waiting for the appeal hearing that was coming up. i had recently found a new job tho, and so it seemed that my fortunes were changing; seem being the key word.
as i traveled down the road in my little white vibe, i saw the state patrol car up ahead, but had no way to turn around or avoid it. i was on a US highway, I-70 to be exact, and there was no way i could make an impromptu, not to mention inconspicuous, u-turn to keep myself “out of dodge”, so to speak. i hoped that i would be able to casually pass by the state trooper car on the side of the, unnoticed, and continue with the chores of my day.
luck was not to be my fate that day as it had so many times over the last long three years. i pulled into the inside lane to pass the trooper car that had begun accelerating and merging into the outside lane, only to have it pull behind me. hoping he still hadn’t noticed my tags and just wanted to pass, i merged into the outside lane only to have the patrolman follow shortly after which the patrol car’s flashing lights came on. i quickly pulled over on the side of the road and stopped with the patrol car behind me.
i had found that many of the people of the new county where i lived were much more considerate and helpful than where i had previously resided. i hoped that this would also be the case with this patrolman as i pulled my license from my wallet.
the patrolman stepped to the window of my car. “can i see your license, registration and proof of insurance ma’am?”
“i don’t have proof of insurance or a current registration, but i do have my license”, i responded.
“you do realize the reason why i pulled you over today”?
“yeah ’cause my plates are expired” i said.
“did you know i could issue you a ticket just for not having proof of insurance alone?” he asked. i responded by telling him my current predicament of joblessness and why i had ventured onto the road to come to Avon in the first place. i even showed him the documentation that i had taken to the local salvation army office, along with the paperwork the office had given back to me.
the patrolman’s facial expression changed. it went from “official” to immediately understanding my current situation and wishing he could just let me go.
“ok well…i’ll try to help as much as i can, but i’m probably going to have to give you some kind of citation for the plates being expired” he stated. “please stay here and i’ll be right back.’
of course, ‘be right back” in police terms, when giving a ticket, meant sit tight; this is going to take a bit. there is no hurry when it comes to these guys writing you a citation. however, what usually takes about 20 minutes, grew to 30. then 40. meanwhile i noticed that a second patrol car had pulled up behind the first. not unusual. i had seen before where an officer’s “coworkers” had come to check out what was going on. nothing to get upset or concerned about. but time was dragging on, and i needed to get to get to one of the local shelters pet food pantry to stock up on dog food as it was going to be awhile before i would get my first paycheck. this, along with a host of other things i needed to get done that day in order to ensure that i would continue to have a home for me and my furbabies.
the officer stepped out of his car and approached my vehicle, along with another patrolman. he asked me to step out of my vehicle. sure no problem. i didn’t know why, but was more than willing to comply. as the officer had me follow him to the back of my car, i realized that he was telling me i was being arrested and asking me to face the hood of my car, place my hand there, and spread my legs. my heart went from about 0 to 500 beats a minute. he continued to explain that i was under arrest the details of which he would reveal on our way to the station. we were about half a mile from the exit to the next town, which was also where the police station was located where they were taking me.
while patting me down, he explained to me what would happen next and said that he would be keep the cuffs loose as to try minimize the awkward position i would be sitting in. he asked me if i thought i would be able to retrieve, or have someone for me, retrieve my car within the next 24 to 48 hours in order to save me the added expense of towing. i responded yes with a lump in my throat and the words “what the hell!!!!?” swirling in my brain and shock as to what was going on taking over me; all the while being placed in the patrol car, a seatbelt being snapped over me into place, and the passenger” door being closed.
as the patrol car began to accelerate and move back onto the highway, the patrolman explained a bit more the charges against me. he said that a warrant had been taking out for me by the city of Rifle Co, where I had previously resided, and that it was for misdemeanor property damage.
misdemeanor property damage??!!! wtf??!!! (pardon the french but that really is what i was thinking) my mind began racing along with my fast beating heart. i began searching trying to think of anything that might have happened leading up to this charge back when i was residing in Rifle. it was some time ago, and i had relocated to the Dotsero Colorado area beginning of November 2012 and it was now March.
as the realization of what was happening began to dawn on me, tears welled up in my eyes. because the warrant was in the next county over, if i couldn’t get a bondsman to help me out where i was presently located, i would be transported back to the county where the warrant originated and then back to Rifle to appear in court.
great! what about the dog food i needed to get? would i still be released in time to get it? and what about the gas voucher i was given to get me back home after all my errands were run? would it still be good? and what about my car? MY CAR??!!! how would i get back to my car??!! and what about all the things i needed to take care of that day to ensure the future of my home for not only me but my furbabies??!!!!!! the things that had to be completed today because i couldn’t take another day off from the new job to get them completed!!!??!!!
the tears fell. i choked and kept the crying as silent as possible, but my emotional distress was most likely palatable to the officers (he had a trainee along with him for the ride) in the front seat, and they shifted spontaneously in same timing in their seats. they new they didn’t have your standard “criminal” in their car, and my discomfort and distress was getting to them.
altho the cuffs weren’t tight on my wrists, my hands were in the class behind the back position and were going numb. my sitting position with them behind me was a tad bit uncomfortable, along with my distressed emotional state adding to my discomfort.
the radio in the front of the patrol car was playing a local station, surprisingly. how long it had been on i didn’t know. perhaps the one of the officers had turned it on to try and lower some of my anxiety? or maybe it was to keep themselves distracted from what was going on in the back seat of their squad car.
we pulled up to the county sheriff’s office, and the car made it’s way around to the back. a large metal garage door opened and the patrol car eased inside. the door then dropped, and the troopers exited the car. the one who performed the arrest came to my door and assisted me with getting out of the car. we proceeded thru a set of doors, into a some kind of waiting area, where the officer asked me to read the statement posted above before we proceeded further inside.
the sign was concerned with the carrying of “contraband” into the facility and what would happen to a person caught doing so. my mind was truly more preoccupied with what was happening to me (a warrant for misdemeanor property damage???!!!! really?? !!!! what the fuck??!!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!???!!!)
i once again began crying. when helpless, in a very stressing situation where i have no choices, this is what i do. i cry. the crying is an attempt to relieve tremendous anxiety. part of this is due to a bad anxiety/depression disorder i have, but it goes without saying that the response i was having was also one that many others would have in the same predicament.
i shook my head at the officer indicting he had nothing to worry about as far as me bringing “contraband” into the station, and we proceeded thru another set of doors where i was asked to sit down on a bench, the cuffs were removed, and i was asked to remove my shoes.
further information was given to me concerning the warrant. rifle municipal court had issue a warrant for my arrest with bail set at 6500 cash only. the sheriff’s staff explained that i probably wouldn’t be able to find anyone to bail me out due to the cash only part of the warrant. i once again into what the was for? misdemeanor property damage they said. had i caused any kind of damage recently in the town of Rifle? any ideas? nope. none! this had to be some kind of error and one that needed to be cleared up quickly. not able to get bail? what did they know??!!! i had to try. bet i could. bet they dunno what they are talking about.
“where’s a phone i can use? and do you have a phone book?” iasked.
the desk officer pointed to a contraption behind me with a chair next to it. and handed me a list of bail bondsman.
“ok. umm where’s the phone?”
“right there” the officer responded. i had no idea what he was pointing to. the only thing i could see was a wheel dolly with some freight on it. “right there” he said again and pointed. that’s when i realized that the “dolly’ had the phone attached with the line leading somewhere up to the wall. “you can only make collect calls out”. great! what were the chances some bail bondsman would take a collect call to help me? i already had the decks stacked against me if the bond was going to be hard to get funded in the first place.
my tears stopped and i became focused, quickly punching numbers on the list into the phone and making inquiries. “nope can’t help ya” i kept getting. “that bond is cash only and we don’t do cash.” huh? what do u mean u don’t do cash? how can u not do cash?
finally on the 3rd or 4th call, the bondsman took the time to explain that there was no way for any bondsman to make money on the type of bond i was given, and that no bondsman was going to hand over 6500 on anyone because of the flight risk. especially in this economy!
as i hung up the phone, the desk officer informed me that time had run out for me to be making calls and they were going to go ahead and transport me to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. they told me that i had a better chance of the bail’s conditions being changed once i was in custody in the county of where the warrant was placed and would most likely be able to get bailed out. not to mention, it was still business/court hours, and i would most likely be able to go before the judge and get the situation resolved quicker.
however, my knowledge of the GarCo jail, was not at all positive. alot of bad press and bad stories had come out of that place, and i was dreading going there, but if it was going to get me all that much closer to getting the issue taken care of so that i could get back to try and finish up my all important errands and back home and my furrbabies, then so beit. let’s roll!
the female officer that would be transporting me, began pulling out leg shackles and cuffs, along with another set of hand cuffss
“ummm wait” i said. ‘are those for me?”
“yes it’s policy, ma’am”. “don’t matter what you’re arrested for. everyone transported has to be shackled”.
greaaat!!! as if this whole experience wasn’t degrading and scarry enough for me.
and so my feet were shackled, along with a chain running between them, and then my hands in front with another chain running between my hands and feet. the tears began falling with the humiliation of all that was going on fell into place. it’s fuel my anxiety disorder, which was by now raging once again.
“don’t worry” the female officer said. “we’ll get you there in half and hour and get all of this taken care of. who knows? maybe it’s just an administrative mistake!”
she patted me on the shoulder, attempting comfort; assisted me into the van. her and another officer took their respective places in the front. the van took off out of another garage and off we headed towards Garfield County Jail.
a huge lump of dread began to grow in the pit of my stomach along with the unshakable feeling that once we arrived, things just weren’t going to be that simple. when it came to Garfield County, nothing was.