Okay, so this is – substantially – how the conversation went:
“Sergeant, let’s suppose you had a hypothetical deputy.”
“Let’s just suppose.”
“And this hypothetical deputy had seen a four wheeler cross my – uh, the hypothetical deputy’s – major highway. The ATV slipped across the road and disappeared down a county road, so said deputy turned on the same farm road to follow. And, lo and behold, he saw that ATV tearing butt through a farmer’s beanfield.
“And so the deputy – hypothetical, of course – continued to follow the four wheeler, in the hopes that said four wheeler would come out of the beanfield and onto the roadway so the deputy could ticket him for illegal operation of an off-road vehicle and maybe damage to property, if he tore up the beanfield to any great degree.
“But at some point, let’s say the four wheeler guy noticed the deputy following him. This probably would have given the four wheeler driver a fright such that he might have taken a hard right and disappeared deeper into said farmer’s said beanfield.”
“So let’s say this purely hypothetical deputy also took a hard right and entered the farmer’s beanfield. This field probably would have been already harvested and so the deputy wouldn’t have torn anything up, even as he and the ATV ran up to possibly as much as 40 miles an hour. Also, I would imagine there would have been no nearby innocent bystanders so the danger level was fairly low. I mean, that an assumption because, obviously, I wasn’t there.
“So, if this all happened, and this is purely conjecture remember, then it follows that at some point, the four wheel operator would have looked back and seen the deputy in the beanfield with him. I imagine that bad guy would have crapped his pants because, really, how often are you going to see a squad car, lights blasting, burning through a beanfield, right?”
“I would bet that then, the ATV operator probably took a hard hard left and disappeared into the timber. Well, obviously, if this had ever happened, the deputy would never have been able to follow the guy into the timber.”
“We’d hope, anyway.”
“Yeah, right? So then the hypothetical deputy would try to get out of the beanfield. But what if the ground was just a bit soft and maybe this deputy got stuck? What would he do then, Sarge?”
“Ah, the heart of the matter.”
“Well, for now, anyway.”
“I would hope that this dreamed deputy – ”
“What? Did you say dreamy deputy?”
“Dreamed. Like dreamed up. I would hope this dreamed up deputy would be smart enough not to call over the radio that he was stuck. I would hope the deputy – hypothetical as he is – would be smart enough to use his fully charged cell phone to call his sergeant to plead his case. Then, the sergeant would find some tow truck operator who owed him a favor. That way, when the tow truck operator pulled the deputy out of the mushy beanfield, there would be minimal chances that any other deputies would find out about it. Therefore, there would be minimal chances that said dreamy deputy would get harassed by every single deputy at the Sheriff’s Office for the entire rest of his career.”
“Wow,” I said, “you really think the harassment would be minimal?”
Then the Sergeant stared long and hard at my squad car. “I see the dirt and mud, but I didn’t get a call. Nor did I hear anything on the radio. I’m guessing that the hypothetical deputy didn’t get stuck.”
“Not this time,” I said proudly.
“Ah, well, hope springs eternal.” He put his car in gear and shook his head.
Okay, so that’s what…zero for three? Zero for four?
My chases aren’t working out too well…but I do love chasing those ATVs. I guess I’m kind of like a mutt with a car in the street. Never caught one, but like the man said, hope springs eternal.