MPD Lets Us Down. Again.

Isaac Brock notes in his most popular song that sometimes you can get off scot free when you get into a car accident with a police cruiser. Hey, sometimes life's OK. The DC version of this occurrence is very un-OK. In Washington you can run over 35 people after getting into a fender bender with a cop.

Everyone who's been paying attention knows about that horrible, um, I don't know what to call it. "Accident" certainly isn't the right word since it looks like the driver, Tonya Bell, was enjoying herself. Let's call it a vehicular spree.

If you decided to enjoy the weekend instead of following the news, here's the scoop: Bell rear-ended a police cruiser and sped off. Officers decided against pursuit because apparently a hit-and-run accident is not a serious enough offense to warrant an immediate arrest in the name of public safety. Once again, just like the tragic death of Alan Sennit, the inaction of those who are supposed to protect Washington's citizenry bites us in the ass. After hitting the police cruiser, Bell drove into a church festival and ran over a crowd of people. Thirty-five were hospitalized. Quite a few of them were children. Bell never slowed down. She was laughing. It looks like she was smoking crack too. And the MPD had their shot to take her down before anyone was hurt. Bravo.

Bell had a 7-year-old child in the car with her. He's now in DC's protective services. I say we get him out of there right quick. Tonya Bell is a monster, but, unlike DC's child services, she never actually killed anyone.


  1. And where is Bell from? MARYLAND.

    Maryland drivers. They're not just stupid; they're fucking deadly.

  2. As horrible as this incident is, suppose the cops she had originally hit had indeed taken off after her, and in the ensuing high-speed chase someone had struck and killed a pedestrian. Would there be a post here this morning saying how irresponsible it is for inciting a high-speed chase for a simple fender bender? Hindsight is 20-20 and all.

  3. Ok, Rusty. I know you love to rip on MPD, but in this case, cut them some slack.

    Do you really think that a cracked-out smokehound who just nailed a marked police car would stop for some blue strobes? Or is it more likely that a chase would have escalated into an even worse situation and put more people in danger?

    Most major police agencies have policies on when they will engage in pursuits, for a good reason: flying through crowded streets with a crown vic is just as deadly as letting loose a few rounds from a 9mm. If I'm sitting in my cruiser enjoying a nice hot Krispy Kreme and some ass hits me and speeds off, chances are I'll call it in and go back to my snack, because it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of policing.

    You sound like the asshats who were screaming at the VaTech administration for not locking down the entire campus when it appeared that some guy shot two people at a dorm and ran away. No one expected him to appear across campus and start emptying clips, just like the police who Ms. Bell hit didn't expect her to plow through a crowded street festival several blocks away.

    Stop flipping out over things that no reasonable person could predict happening.

  4. Incidentally, I was one of the asshats who was upset that VTech didn't lock down their campus.

    I know that hindsight is 20-20. I know police chases can be dangerous. I still think something more should have been done. A heavily intoxicated person (I know the cops didn't know that but surely they knew it was a possibility) shouldn't be allowed to hit a cruiser and drive off.

  5. Do you really think that a cracked-out smokehound who just nailed a marked police car would stop for some blue strobes?

    Maybe not, but the blue strobes would have warned EVERYONE ELSE to get out of the way.

  6. maryland drivers ARE shitty.

    i dread going to the mddmv to get maryland tags for my own car. they might think i am one of them.

    perhaps, i am safer that way.
    but probably not.

  7. And she used to be Marion Barry's secretary. Icing on the cake.

  8. I heard this this morning and was shocked you didn't mention it. It's the only thing about this awful, awful mess that could make a person smile.

    What I particularly like is that Barry's office has terminated its relationship with the employment agency, because they aren't screening people carefully if they send crackheads to work there.

    Seems like he should terminate his relationship with the people of DC, since they clearly are not screening people carefully enough to avoid putting crackheads in his office-- or, for that matter, his chair.

  9. pretty sure it's against d.c.law to engage in high-speed pursuit. cops would have been breaking the law had they done so.

    know the facts before you rant.

  10. So, if I don't want to get arrested I can just drive fast and that's the end of it? That seems too easy.

    High speed pursuits can be bad news. One in Maryland just killed two people. But something more should have been done to stop this intoxicated driver before she did something like send 35 people to the hospital.

    Also, I was aware of the Marion Barry thing. I obviously don't like Barry and the irony is delicious but I didn't feel like it was something I could write about. After all, it wasn't his fault the agency sent him a crazy person.

  11. Yes, Rusty, if you commit a crime and then drive very fast, you'll likely get away, at least temporarily, in almost all major cities. Once again, you are slamming DC, apparently the only major city you've ever lived in, for a law that is on the books in just about every major city in this country. Perhaps if you ever did a speck of research, you'd find that most of the crap that goes on here goes on EVERYWHERE ELSE. Asshole, just move to Iowa already. Or Canada. Perhaps the cities there would be gentle enough for you. Oh, I forgot, Friendship Heights is a rough place.

    Wow, you're a douche.

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  13. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/04/AR2007060401439.html?hpid=smartliving

    I didn't even need to read the byline.

    -Ri L.

  14. I'd like to point out another aspect of this incident not yet mentioned.

    As a result of Bell's actions, a MPD cruiser was pulled off of the 1400 block of Girard St, NW (all the way across the city in Columbia Heights). This cruiser was/is supposed to be posted there permanently. The cruiser failed to return to its post and 3.5 HOURS LATER, a 13 yr old boy was shot dead on the sidewalk, directly across from where the cruiser usually sits.

    Over 20 shots were fired in this drive-by...as of yet, it is unclear whether or not the 13 yr old was involved; but it does seems unlikely.

    The cop is back now, hanging out all night, but the damage has been done.

    Why was an officer charged with patrolling one of the worst blocks in NW sent to SE? Because the other officers needed supports...

    Why had said officer not returned more than 3.5 hours after the accident in SE? That's a harder question to answer.

    Bell's actions ended up taking someone's life on Saturday, and MPD is somewhat culpable.

  15. Yeah that's a good point, and reinforces everything we know about how this city is run by absolute boobs.

    A bunch of people got run over in Anacostia? Quick, summon a cruiser from CoHi!

  16. I love to read blogs like this where a person like " rusty" has nothing better to do then to constantly rip on the local police department. One, I think Rusty should go and take a ride with a MPD officer on the "ride along program" and sit down and talk with the officer and find out about the do's and dont's that the MPD enforces on it's officers.
    I not ashamed to say it, I work for MPD. I have been with them for 10 years, prior to that I was in the Army for 5 years including the events of 9/11. MPD has a no chase policy. Unless it's for a a suspect who has just committed a felony and now has the means to cause bodily injury to another person. Rusty review your facts, hitting a police care in it's own right is wrong, but lets face it, it's a property crime. It's declared a misdemeanor until it can be determined to otherwise a felony. So that is the reason why the officers did not chase.
    Also as one of the other posters has already stated in most major cities departments don't let officers chase because it puts the lives of other motorists and civilians at risk.

    One last personal opinion on MPD and any police department for that matter. Working as a civil servant is like any other job. If your are an a$$hole before you become a police officer, once your a police officer, you will now be a police officer who is a a$$hole. Unfortunately there are some that slip thru that many of us wish we could get rid of, since they hurt us while wearing the same uniform.

    Just a thought.