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Police Officers and Stranded Motorists

September 19, 1987

I am curious about the duties of police officers on the freeways.

In May, while traveling northbound on the 405 Freeway, near Laguna Nigel, I had a flat tire. A huge piece of rubber came off a tire. I was near the far left lane and there was a wide shoulder for me to pull onto. A motorcycle officer had been traveling approximately three cars behind me for several miles. I assumed the officer would see my plight and pull up behind me and call the Auto Club for me. I did not expect him to change the tire--nor did I expect him to keep going--which he did. I couldn't believe it.

I looked in my rear-view mirror in time to see another officer in a patrol car coming my way. I hurried out of the car and raised the trunk. This officer also kept going.

I waved my arms frantically at a tow-truck driver passing by, he waved back and kept going. This was approximately 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.

A young woman stopped and asked if I needed help. She changed the tire for me which allowed me to get across the freeway to the nearest off-ramp.

On Aug. 11 at approximately 4 p.m., I was westbound on the 91 Freeway about two miles before it meets the 110 and 405. A motorcycle officer, in a tan uniform, was traveling in the far left lane. Suddenly in the lane to my right was a screech of tires and brakes. Several RVs had been following each other and had to make sudden stops. One pickup pulling a trailer jack-knifed into the far right lane before stopping. The cause of all this activity was a two-car collision. The police officer kept going. He took the 110 off-ramp and headed south.

On Aug. 14, a co-worker was going home and she hit a piece of metal that disabled her car completely. She was southbound on the Long Beach Freeway just before the Imperial Highway off-ramp. She saw three officers pass her before she started walking for help. This was about 4 p.m.

If it is not the job of the police officers to help stranded motorists--whose job is it? I'd like to know.

CLAIRE MARSH

Torrance

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