By Leo Coughlin
Anything can happen in the dog days of August, when oppressive heat (in some places, not here in Paradise) makes some folks a little delirious.
But no matter the time of year, Largo's Finest are apt to run up against craziness on any day of the year, at any time of day.
Hey, these guys put on the uniform and go out on a daily basis to perform their police duties and who knows what they may face. Keep that in mind.
Take the following as an example. It is right out of the reports of the Largo P.D., faithfully reported by Chief Lester Aradi, one of the world's good guys, and only certain modifications have been made so as not to publicly compromise anyone and pre-judge anyone before trial.
The scene opens with a 16-year-old, already on probation who has decided he is going to do some partying with friends.
His mother objects to this activity and the lad is disobeying court orders but he obtains keys to the automobile of one of his mother's friends and pulls a Jackie Gleason (i.e. "and away we go....").
The boy takes a companion home and on his return journey is going too fast to make a critical turn in the road, hits the curb and a telephone pole.
He arrives home and concocts a story to his mother to explain the damage to the vehicle. She figures she is being conned and calls the police. She and her friend are outraged about the young fellow's activities and want prosecution to the max.
But, wait. The story with the kid amounts to nothing.
Take the night when an officer southbound on U.S. 19 suddenly sees a vehicle coming up very fast on him.
The driver loses control, skids sideways, hits the median and then speeds off, strikes another curb, runs off the road, skids across the highway, hits the wall of an overpass, spins around and then runs up on the curb on the other side of the road.
The officer approaches and realizes the errant vehicle is now aimed right at him. He evades him but the nutso driver hits the cruiser then jumps out of his vehicle, scales a fence and flees.
Teamwork comes into play and a squad of cops, with dogs, and they corner the subject in an apartment complex where he is taken into custody.
Wait, it gets better, or more thrilling, or something.
With suspicions of DUI, the guy refuses a blood test and is taken to Largo Medical Center because he seems to be having trouble breathing.
A blood test at the hospital shows the presence of cocaine, marijuana and a blood alcohol county of .18 (pretty drunk at that level, actually).
After all this derring-do, using a motor vehicle as an assault weapon and a host of other related charges all seemingly right on target, everybody went home with no injuries.
In another piece of insanity, Largo gendarmes had to deal with the pair who used their teeth as weapons. Subject A bit Subject B on the thumb and B retaliated by biting off a portion of A's middle finger. That appendage was re-attached.
All parties wound up in durance vile of Motel Coats.
Then there was the woman in faraway Texas who was awarded $80,000 by a jury because she broke her ankle after tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store.
The little kid was her son.