While at work, Curt enjoyed going over the books of laws and statutes. Some of the older ones were kind of humorous. Since some of them were a hundred years old they had more to do with horses than cars. For instance, riding your horse over a bridge was against the law. Many of the ordinances came about because of specific events but those were not recorded. The ‘no riding over the bridge’ probably came about after one horse got spooked on the bridge and ended up killing someone. There was also a law regarding riding your horse while intoxicated. Again, probably because someone did so and there was some disastrous result.
While on patrol one night Curt came across a very drunk man was riding his horse home from the tavern. He could understand the mans thinking that this was a brilliant idea since he wouldn’t be “driving” home drunk. He could get as drunk as he wanted because the horse knew the way home. The horse would be the designated driver.
So the man tied the horse up outside the tavern and went inside. Bragging to his friends about how he had found the way around the DWI law. He wouldn’t be ‘driving’ home. The all toasted his brilliance.
After he was properly and totally shit-faced, the man went outside, untied his horse and climbed into the saddle. He then passed out. Now in his mind, all he had to do was stay in the saddle and his faithful horse would get them home.
It started out like a good idea. After a few minuted the horse began to walk toward home. Stopping occasionally to munch on some grass along the edge of the road. Curt observed the progress. Eventually, the horse became more interested in getting home than eating. But it was night. The horse was not to keen on the idea of staying close to the side of the road. Something might jump out and startle it. No, in the horses mind the safest place to be would be in the center of the road. That way, anything jumping out from the shoulder of the road, there would be some space, to escape.
Problem was the horse wasn’t wearing anything reflective. It didn’t have ‘tail lights’ so from behind it was just a shadow going down the road. An accident waiting to happen. Any driver coming down the street at legal speed would have run up under the horse before they ever saw it.
Curt tried to get the horse to stay off to the side of the road. But as soon as he backed off the horse would get right back out into the center of the roadway.
After several attempts, Curt finally decided that the only safe thing to do for the horse and rider would be to get them off the street. So he tied the horse to the back bumper of the patrol car and pulled the man from the saddle, arrested him and placed him in the back of the car. The man was to drunk to even be aware that he was under arrest.
Then he drove slowly back to the police station, leading the horse carefully along. After tying the horse up outside the station he took the man in for a breathalyzer and booking.
The next morning the Tri City Herald headline read that a man had been arrested for “Riding While Intoxicated” as if even being drunk as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, in West Richland, they would still arrest you.
Want more stories like this check out the book The Chief Is Missing which is available in audio for those of us that don’t have time to sit down and read.