To read the previous Banff story: Detained
An “Outrageous Fun” Story
This story is the second installment in a series of short stories about my road trip to Banff National Park with my brother Christian and my good friend Michael.
Location: Some interstate just outside of Akron, Ohio.
Time: 1:30 AM
Christian, Michael and I were cruising through Ohio on Wednesday morning on a 70 mph highway at a reasonable speed of 76 mph. Christian was the driver. Up ahead, Christian noticed two police cars and as a result, he slowed down to under 60 mph. Christians’ efforts were futile and we eventually saw a large police SUV come behind us flashing its lights. We were pissed because we were exhausted, but we had no choice other than to comply. Compliance would be the guiding principle for the remainder of our time with this officer.
We rolled down our windows and saw the Ohio police officer stroll up to the passenger side of our car. He walked with the tough guy attitude, trying his best to intimidate us. He extracted his flashlight, poked his head in the window and looked around. He talked slowly and clearly, saying we were going 74 mph and that he was going to need all of our ID’s (instead of just asking for Christian’s ID). We considered this an odd request, but we handed over our licenses nonetheless.
After a short period of time, the officer returned. He said to Christian, “I’m not going to give you a ticket, you weren’t going too fast. Unless you want one?” His comical rhetorical question lightened the mood and we thought we were all set. He wasn’t done, however, and he added, “I am part of the K9 unit and I just want to have my dog sniff around your car real quick to make sure you don’t have illegal substances in your possession.” Us three were immediately frustrated because we knew that we didn’t have any drugs or weapons. But we knew we had to comply. He commanded us to roll up our windows to avoid getting bit.
Not long after, we heard resounding barks originating from the SUV behind us. The officer walked his enormous German Shepard over to our car. The dog circled the van and jumped on the side of it occasionally, causing the car to rock from side to side. The dog never sniffed out any area in particular and it eventually left. At this point, we were pretty confident that we were going to be let go.
Before the dog had left, we noticed a second police cruiser pull up behind the SUV that was already holding us hostage. When the dog was put away, the driver of the cruiser stepped out of his car and approached our van alongside his fellow officer. The officers then flanked the van and came on both sides. They marched to the front two doors and told Christian and Michael to step out of the car.
AHHHHHHHH!!!!! I am sitting in the back of this van, freaking out and screaming on the inside because my two comrades were just sucked out the car by cops who were extremely intimidating! I wasn’t able to see what happened with Christian and Michael, but I heard about it afterwards. I will do my best to fill in the blanks…
Christian asks the officer, “May I ask what’s the problem?”
Officer, “Like I said, my dog is trained in sniffing out illegal substances and weapons. Do you have any drugs?”
Officer: “What about any marijuana?”
Officer, “Do you have any weapons?”
Christian, “Uhhh…I think my brother has a knife.”
Officer, “I don’t care about knives. Do you have any guns or grenades?”
The officer then had Christian put his hands on the hood of the SUV. Christian was then frisked, escorted to the back of the police cruiser and was locked inside.
With Michael, the officer yelled at him and said, “Take your hands out of your pocket! What do you have in your pocket?”
Michael, “Uhhh, I think it’s a receipt.”
The officer then had Michael put his hands on the hood of the car and he frisked him. Michael found the same fate as Christian in the back of the cruiser.
My story isn’t that different. The cops eventually came back for me, took me out of the van, yelled at me for putting my hands in my pocket, frisked me, and locked me in the back of the cruiser.
Absurd moments like this one can cause a person’s mind to run frantic. Stress and fear were the overwhelming emotions that all three of us felt. My heart began to pump at viciously fast speeds and I had difficulty pacing my breathing. My mind began to think of the most ridiculous outcomes, such as, “What if someone planted weed in our car at the border or in Banff?” There’s little chance of that happening, but I was worried that the dog had actually sniffed something and that we were going to have to deal with harsher consequences than what we had already faced.
We waited in the car while the police officers searched our van on the side of the interstate. They pulled every item out, piece by piece. To their disappointment, they didn’t find anything except some smelly clothes and a large jar of Nutella. They put everything back in the car, unlocked us from the back of the cruiser, gave us our ID’s and said, “I’m sure you have better places you want to be.”
The whole next day was occupied by conversation and thought about that one hour of our life. We concluded that the police had not stopped us for going four miles over the speed limit, nor had the dog actually sniffed something out. The minute that officer flashed on his lights, he knew that he was going to search through our van. We also hypothesized that the officer thought us to be more suspicious because Christian was the driver. Similar to the time we were detained at the border, the officer must have thought him to be a stoner because of his big beard and long hair.
To view my photos about Banff: Photos: “Outrageous Fun” Road Trip
To view my video about Banff: Film: Outrageous Fun, A Banff Story