Pull Over! OK, Maybe Not.
Date Added: May 8, 2002
Urban legends frequently use tales of terrible events that were narrowly avoided to illustrate that dastardly crimes are being committed all around us. Though this case has a little more detail than we typically see in this type of chain letter, there's still plenty about it to make one skeptical.
This is an actual true story and not one of those Internet stories that are passed on and on. This actually happened to one of my dearest new friend's daughter. Her daughter, Lauren, is 19 yrs. old and a sophomore in college. This happened to her over the Christmas/New Year's holiday break.
It was the Saturday before New Year's and it was about 1 pm in the afternoon. Lauren was driving from here (Winchester, Va.) to visit a friend in Warrenton. For those of you who are familiar with the area, she was taking Rt. 50 East towards Middleburg and then was going to cut over to I-66 via Rt. 17. Those of you who aren't familiar with this area, Rt. 50 East is a main road (55 mph and two lanes each side with a big median separating East/West lanes), but is somewhat secluded, known for it's big horse farms and beautiful country estates.
Lauren was actually following behind a state police car shortly after she left Winchester and was going just over 65 mph since she was following behind him. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. My friend and her husband have 4 children (high school and college age) and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get to a gas station, etc. So Lauren actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called #77 on her cell phone to tell the dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there were 2 police cars, one unmarked behind her and one marked in front of her. The dispatcher checked to confirm that there were 2 police cars where she was. There wasn't and she was connected to the policeman in front of her. He told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back-up already on the way.
Ten minutes later, 4 police cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground .. the man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes. Thank God Lauren listened to her parents! She was shaken up, but fine.
I never knew that bit of advice, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should NEVER pull over for an unmarked car in a secluded area. In fact, even a marked car after dark should follow you to a populated area. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call #77 like Lauren did.
I am so thankful that my friend was sitting at our book club meeting telling us this scary story, rather than us at her house consoling her had something tragic occurred!
Be safe and pass this on to your friends. Awareness is everything!
Despite the author's contention that this is an "actual true story" and the tale's unusual amount of information about the location of these events, this warning reeks of urban legend:
A spokesman for the Virginia State Police told BreakTheChain.org that his department could not confirm the events in the letter.
"We have contacted our office that is responsible for the routes identified in the correspondence and the troopers that would have patrol responsibility for the routes, and we have no record or knowledge of the alleged incident."
In Virginia, you can indeed call #77 on your cellular phone to report reckless or aggressive drivers to the Virginia State Police. Maryland is the only other state that offers the #77 service - a fact that reduces what little value this one had. Each state has an emergency number that you can call from your cellular phone for assistance, but it differs from state to state and not every one connects you to the state police. This site has a listing of cellular phone emergency numbers by state.
In October, 2003, this chain "jumped the pond" and began circulating in Europe, minus most of the geographical references, changing the number "Lauren" supposedly dialed to summon help and adding some anonymous commentary:
Mobile Phones & the Police
This actually happened to someone's daughter. Lauren was 19 yrs old and in college. This story takes place over the Christmas/New Year's holiday break. It was the Saturday before New Year and it was about 1.00 pm in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put its lights on. Lauren's parents have 4 children and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get to a service station, etc.
So Lauren had actually listened to her parents' advice, and promptly called No. 112 on her mobile phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there was a police car where she was and there wasn't and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back-up already on the way. Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground.........the man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.
I never knew that bit of advice, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e., put on your hazard lights) or call No. 112 like Lauren did. Too bad the cell phone companies don't give you this little bit of wonderful information. So now it's your turn to let your friends know about No. 112. This is good informationthat I did not know!
Please pass on to any females that you know some more info received from a friend (female):
999 is the emergency services.... apparently the 112 number takes you straight to dispatch who can track the marked and unmarked policecars.... 999 wouldn't be able to be as quick or knowledgable...... they probably also wouldn't know what to do if you called them and questioned them about the car following you.... - this is from personal experience, as they couldn't even find the Windsor Relief Road once when I dialled 999!!!! Plus the girl that sent me this called the number and checked it out and was advised to call them directly in these incidents.....
In early 2004, a Canadian version surfaced, again, omitting any clue as to location, but retaining the #77 number. It also adds a bit of terror by offering a postscript about a supposed instance where a young lady failed to heed the advice and paid the ultimate price:
Afternote: This happened to a woman just off #1 highway, east of Calgary because of a similar incident as the above. She wasn't this lucky, she was caught and murdered. This happened about two years ago, late one evening when she was going home from work (lived on acreage NE of Calgary).....
Then, in August 2004, another Canadian version surfaced, this time citing the number to call as #677 (the emergency number for the Ontario Provincial Police) and identifying "Bell Mobility" as source.
Even if this tale has roots in reality, you can see how its similarity to urban legend quickly turned it into one, being retold and adapted to fit virtually any audience. Despite the earlier message's author's contention, this has become "one of those Internet stories that are passed on and on." Break this Chain!