62nd Highway Patrol (MP)
 Germany      1948 - 1958

Stories of the Highway Patrol



The Alfa Romeo


by  Edward F. Smith







 On April 2, 1958, Sammy Tise and I were working the evening shift out of Seckenheim The night air was chilly, there was no moon, it was as dark as a witches black cat. We were making our last check of the Karlsruhe autobahn for the evening. The time was approximately 2300 hours [11 :00 P Ill] and we had just turned around and pulled back onto the North bound lane at kilometer stone 596 I was driving and Sammy had just finished calling in our location to Kilometer Charlie on the radio. As I looked into the rear view mirror, I noticed a set of headlights fast approaching. As the vehicle passed at a high rate of speed, Sammy and I both noticed that the vehicle was an Alta Romeo with a US forces license plate. I turned to Sammy and made the statement "Go on fool, we 'will pick you up when we get there". Little did we know just how true the statement would be.


At approximately 2310 hours [11: 10 pm] as we approached kilometer stone 575 just outside of Heidelberg, we found the Alfa Romeo which had passed us only 10 minutes earlier. This time he was sitting at an angle across both lanes of the autobahn with the front of the vehicle embedded under the side of a 2 ton Air Force truck. The truck driver had missed his turn onto the Heidelberg autobahn and had been in the process of making a U-turn when struck by the Alfa Romeo. The operator of the truck [a US Airman] who was later determined to be intoxicated, had apparently turned off his head lights while making the illegal U-turn. The driver of the Alfa Romeo traveling at a high rate of speed did not see the truck until it was too late and was unable to stop.


The driver [a Department of the Army Civilian] [DAC] of the Alfa Romeo had been pulled from the wrecked vehicle by an unknown German who had come upon the scene, and the driver of the truck, he was laying on the roadway. A quick check of the victim revealed that one of his legs was broken just above the ankle. The bone was broken clear through and was in splinters, the foot was hanging on by the skin only It was also noted that his left eye ball was disengaged from its socket and hanging out. A check of the vehicle revealed a female passenger [spouse of the operator] crumpled under the dashboard, she was in shock but, alive. Not knowing just what her injuries might be, no attempt was made to move her until the arrival of the medics. She was in no further danger, such as fire, or additional vehicles becoming involved in the accident.


An ambulance had been called for and arrived on the scene shortly. The victim and his wife were taken to the 130th Station Hospital in nearby Heidelberg. The operator of the truck sustained no injuries. Sammy and I were still at the scene when we received a radio call from the Seckenheim station. We were instructed to search the vehicle of the victim for bone fragments and to wrap all that was found in a wet cloth. We were also told that an ambulance was on its way to retrieve any bone fragments that were found.


The operator of the truck remained in custody during this time and was later transported to the 130th Station Hospital for a blood alcohol test. The test showed that the driver had a 2.6 cc reading, well above the 1.5 cc reading which was the legal limit at the time. The truck driver was charged with driving under the influence and making an illegal U-turn .


I don't remember just what happened to the truck driver, or the DAC and his wife, and I am not sure if Sammy does. The statement that I had made "Go on fool, we'll pick you up when we get there" is one that I never made again, nor have I forgotten the one time that I did, It was a long night and lots of work, it's just one of the many memories that I have of my years with the Highway Patrol.



This story previously appeared in Volume # 4, Issue # 3, May-June 2001 edition of "The White Mice"


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