The wrong woman

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This letter was addressed to Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s Captain Tom Martin

I was driving into Malibu on Malibu Canyon, on my way to a doctor’s appointment on Aug. 20. Just near Malibu Knolls, the driver of the car in front of me casually held her lit cigarette out the window and let it fly. It bounced off the pavement and was swept under traffic toward the brushy hillside to our right. I immediately phoned the Lost Hills Sheriff headquarters and gave a detailed description of the Red Chevy Cobalt and its two female occupants. I followed the car as it turned left on PCH, right on Webb Way. At the Malibu Road stop sign I noticed a Sheriff’s car parked on the westbound side of Malibu Road. The Chevy turned left toward the officer. I was still on the line with the station’s operator, who was relaying this to all units in the area. I made a right on Malibu Road, toward my doctor’s office, and kept watch in the mirror. The Chevy drove by the officer. No reaction from the Sheriff’s vehicle. I was still on the phone with the station when I decided to alert the officer myself. I chose a safe time and space to make a U-turn near the fire station. I pulled to the stop sign and watched the red Chevy, still up ahead, pull into the Chevron station. Again, I relayed this to the operator. The Sheriff’s vehicle lights turned on-I felt hopeful that he would catch up with the perpetrator. Instead, he pulled ME over!

As the officer walked to my car I told him something like this: “Do you see that red car just pulling out of the Chevron station? That’s the car you want. That’s the car that flung out a lit cigarette onto Malibu Canyon. I’ve been on the phone reporting it-I’m sure you have the message.”

No good. I was told because I performed an illegal and unsafe U-turn in the presence of the officer and that he did not personally witness the cigarette toss, he would have to issue me a citation. I responded by saying that I would be his witness in court, and that I could take him to the cigarette. Nope, he didn’t care. He asked for my ID.

As I shuffled through my bag, I told him, through tears, that I thought this was very unfair. I was trying to do the right thing -be a good person, and in doing so, I am the one being punished. I handed him my license and he walked to his vehicle. I watched the little red car pull out onto Malibu Road, merge onto PCH, and disappear down the highway.

After leaving my doctor’s office, two Sheriff vehicles were stationed at the intersection. One in the very spot he’d been before. I’ve been told they can be found sitting there in wait, nearly every day, looking out for those illegal U-turns.

Sir, I believe in this particular case the officer should have given me a warning, and thanked me for my help.

Rebecca Dmytryk