You can see Realitatea’s video report here or read about it in greater length here (all links in Romanian) but it seems like a drunk (or high) female driver, a family doctor by day, was pulled over during a routine stop in Ploiești.
When the cop reached his hand in through her window to demand her identity document and car papers, she sped off, injuring the cop’s hand. He apparently (?) tried to run after her but was unable to catch her. So the “crack” cops of Prahova Judet radioed to other cars and there began a pursuit. One report says here that they followed her for “dozens” of kilometers on the A3 highway, where she was weaving all over the place and driving on the wrong side of the road.
She then got pulled over yet again, where she refused to get out of the vehicle, “pretending” she was about to puke and then zoomed off yet again. She then zipped down the highway and got almost all the way to Bucharest before she was finally caught and thrown in jail for 29 days in the Romanian form of “no bail” lock up (they’re called “preventative arrests” here).
Supposedly she said she was fleeing from the cops because she was in fear of being followed by the “Russian mob” (exact quote there), which is odd. And apparently she lost her driver’s license last year after being caught a different time driving while under the influence, so obviously there’s an extensive history involved with this particular woman.
The whole thing however reminds me of my article Mircea Geoana for President, wherein I wondered exactly what the cops would (or could) do if someone refused to pull over and obey commands. This lady zoomed off in an Opel Corsa, hardly a high-performance sports car, and some reports I saw said that it took the police two hours to catch her. They sure as hell didn’t know how to stop her even after all this wild driving and basically only got her because she herself stopped and was surrounded by cops when she got to the outskirts of Bucharest. I’d sure like to know what explanation the cops would’ve had for failing to stop this woman if God forbid she had killed someone!
I have no idea why but not a single one of the media reports I found published this lady’s name even though she’s currently in jail and facing charges. Welcome to the completely non-transparent Romanian judicial system, kids!
Frankly, I think a determined driver (who was sober) who wanted to get away from the cops in this country could probably do it. I didn’t see a single mention of a police helicopter, even though this lady was heading at a high rate of speed towards the capital, and without one it’s very possible to lose anyone in a vehicle pursuing you. Romania’s apparently got the money (roughly 670 million Euros) to buy F-16’s that it doesn’t need but no money for a police copter. Sigh.
UPDATE: Well according to this article, the Bucharest police do have a helicopter but apparently it isn’t theirs full-time. It’s probably borrowed from the military or some other national agency (like the MAI). Seems like if they did have one and knew a crazy driver was inbound from Ploiești that they would’ve launched it. What else is it good for if not situations like that one?
In better news, I was happy to see that the cops in Bucharest recently handed out 22,000 tickets to drivers for failing to wear their seat belts and over 7,000 tickets to people who were talking on their phones while driving. Laws on the books mean nothing if the cops don’t enforce them and in this case I heartily applaud this crackdown.
Even as a pedestrian I’m always in fear for my life while crossing some intersections precisely because of inattentive drivers, many of whom I see merrily chatting away with their phones to their ear.