The teen told an obvious lie when the police officer pulled him over, but that wasn’t the officer’s main concern.
An officer from Ohio’s North Ridgeville Police Department shared a photo of a ticket he’d recently given to an 18-year-old who had been going 100 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone.
He also shared what he wanted to tell that teen, namely that he had been on his way to a devastating accident when he got pulled over:
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.
Like many people who get speeding tickets, the teen tried to tell the officer that he didn’t know how fast he was going. However, the officer spotted that as an obvious lie:
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.
And like many others who get speeding tickets, the teen was nervous and scared when he got pulled over. But as the officer pointed out, he was, “scared one minute too late and for the wrong reason. You should have been scared that you were trying to kill yourself.”
The officer wrote he’s very aware that the teen is at an age when he believes he’s, “invincible,” and that, “you can’t even fathom your own death.”
Sadly, the officer has seen the truth far too many times:
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.
Too many times, the officer has had to be the one to tell someone’s parents that they’ve been killed in a car accident. As he wrote, “Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead.”
Though the officer points out that he doesn’t know this teen’s parents, he knows that they ask him to, “drive safe,” every time he leaves the house. And the officer knows that when they say it, “That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe.”
He also knows what that knock on the door is like:
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.”
Both the parents and the officer know that getting in the car is the most dangerous, potentially fatal thing the teen will do that day. And that reckless behavior can be deadly and random: “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 officer wrote that the teen with the ticket appeared to be a, “really nice kid,” but one who’d made a mistake. That’s why the officer doesn’t feel bad about the ticket at all. “In fact,” he wrote, “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. I hope you can envision me sitting in your kitchen telling your screaming mother that you have been killed.
The officer’s candid words to the teen have since been shared thousands of times on Facebook. Commenters applauded the officer for trying to save lives — though a few did take the opportunity to gripe about speeding tickets.
The officer concluded by making it clear that he hopes the teen’s speeding ticket comes as a reality check that prompts him to change his behavior. He wrote, “Slow down. Please. You are not invincible. I promise.”