Oct. 16: In police parlance, the sternum rub — knuckles to the breastbone — is a standard technique used to rouse slumbering drunks.
The officer had to use it twice. At 3:20 a.m., responding to an unrelated call, he spotted a silver 2013 Hyundai Elantra stopped at the intersection of South 11th and J streets.
The car’s engine was running. The light was green. The car didn’t move. The officer took a mental note and continued a short chase on the unrelated call — a reported fight with a weapon.
The chase led nowhere. The officer returned to the intersection three minutes later. The Elantra was still there, in the same position. The brake lights were on. The officer cleared the traffic and slowly approached the car from behind.
He saw two people inside: a man sleeping in the passenger seat, and a woman in the driver’s seat, her head slumped against the door.
Several times, the officer knocked on the window with his flashlight. No response.
The engine was still running. The car was in gear. The woman’s foot was resting on the brake pedal.
The officer opened the driver’s door and shook the woman.
“Tacoma police! Wake up!”
The woman lifted her head slightly. That was all. The officer tried the sternum rub. The woman stirred. Her foot slipped off the brake. The car slowly rolled forward.
“Brakes! Brakes!” the officer yelled, hustling alongside the car. The woman put her foot back on the brake. The car stopped. She dozed off again.
The officer reached around her, shifted the car into park and pulled the key out of the ignition. He tried the sternum rub again. The woman woke and mumbled. She tried to start the car and put it in gear. The officer told her he had the key.
She was 36. Her eyes were bloodshot and her breath reeked. In the back seat, the officer saw an open 20-ounce can of Steel Reserve; there was another, unopened, on the passenger-side floor.
How much had the woman had to drink tonight?
“Way too much,” the woman said.
She stepped out of the car and nearly fell.
Did she believe her drinking affected her ability to operate the vehicle?
Would she take a field sobriety test?
The officer arrested the woman and took her to Tacoma Police Department headquarters. A second officer took the male passenger to a nearby hotel.
At the station, the woman agreed to a breath-alcohol test. She blew two samples: 0.20 and 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 for drivers. She was booked into the SCORE jail in Des Moines on suspicion of drunken driving.
Oct. 13: Suppose you have a twin brother in Alaska. You’ve got active arrest warrants on your record. He doesn’t.
Which name do you give to the cops?
The 59-year-old Tacoma man gambled and lost. He was squatting with a friend on the back porch of an empty house in the 300 block of North I Street.
The house was up for sale. The seller, a local Realtor, called police to say two men were trespassing.
Officers responded and found the two men on the back porch. One was 48. The other was the 59-year-old.
The men said they had permission to stay on the back porch. The Realtor said that wasn’t true. No one had permission to stay or sleep on the porch.
The men gave names. The 59-year-old called himself Raymond. Officers ran a background check. Both names came up clear. The officers told both men to clear off.
As the two men left, the younger man said something to the 59-year-old and called him “Mike.”
Officers checked records again and spotted a booking photo with the older man’s face. His name was Mike, not Raymond, and he had a pair of active warrants.
Mike said he knew about the warrants. That was why he used his twin brother’s name. Raymond was in Alaska, he said.
Officers booked Mike into the Fife City Jail on the active warrants.
Oct. 13: The estranged husband slept outside in his wife’s car. She found him there and called police.
Officers drove to a home in the 500 block of South 49th Street. They found the husband standing outside, yelling at the living room window, where his wife stood and watched. The husband said he wanted to see his children.
He was 35, “dirty and scattered-looking,” the police report states. “It was fairly obvious by his appearance that he was homeless.”
Officers spoke to him. He said he had no home and that he and his wife had been separated for some time. The previous night, he had nowhere to go, he said — so he slept in his wife’s car.
The wife was 30. The address was her mother’s house. She said she was divorcing her husband because he was a meth addict. She’d found her husband in the car that morning and asked him to leave, but he wouldn’t go.
She said she went back inside the house, locked the door, and looked out to see her husband hitting and kicking the car and yelling. He came to the locked front door and pounded, demanding to see his children.
Officers spoke to the man again. They told him he was banned from the address. He couldn’t come here anymore, and he couldn’t sleep in his wife’s car.
The man complained that it was unfair. His voice rose. Officers repeated the instructions three times and told him he’d be arrested if he came back. He said he understood.
Officers hung around a little. The man stood on the sidewalk by the house for another hour. He insisted he had a right to be on a public street.
One officer said that was true — but if the wife called back again, the man could be arrested for harassment or stalking. Maybe it was time to do the right thing, move along and not make the situation worse.
The husband finally left.