Local Police Paralyzed By Major Accident On County Line

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Sunday, May 19, 2002

from the insert-doughnut-and-coffee-joke-here dept.

GREEN COX, MO -- The Cape Girardeau, Stoddard, and Bollinger County sheriff departments were in a state of chaos yesterday morning after a ten-car pileup occured on Highway 25 right at the meeting point of three county lines.

"Some cars were in Cape County, some where in Stoddard, and one van careened over a ditch and stopped 150 feet away in Bollinger County. It took us four hours to figure out which county each vehicle was in and which police officers were supposed to write the accident reports," explained Graham Medlin, Scott County sheriff who witnessed the accident but couldn't do anything.

Nearly 30 police cars arrived on the scene, blocking traffic for most of the day. It wasn't until five hours later that a surveyor was brought in to mark off the exact location of the county boundaries to determine which vehicle was in which county.

It was eventually determined that Brandon Clapp, driver of a Ford Gasguzzler SUV, and Isabella Tweed, driver of a Kia Elcheapo car, were responsible for causing the ten-car pileup. "I was speeding along at almost 80 mph," Clapp admitted, "and then I slammed on my brakes after seeing an oncoming cop car. The gal right behind me [Mrs. Tweed] was also speeding and she didn't have a chance to react before rear-ending me."

The "oncoming cop car" was Scott County sheriff Graham Medlin returning home after attending a seminar entitled "CPR for Dummies" at Dexter. "If only I had stopped to get doughnuts at Advance like I usually do, none of this would've happened," he lamented.

After the Gasguzzler and Kia collided, other vehicles on the road, including a Ford pickup (with the obligatory Calvin-urinating-on-a-Chevy decal in the rear window), a Chevy Smogmaker, and a U-Work rental van (bound for New York filled with explosives), crashed in a chain reaction. Before it was over, ten vehicles were wrecked scattered across three counties, with ten people injured, five seriously.

[Map] Map of the accident

Each of the ten vehicles involved in the accident are shown by pink dots. The pileup took place between Advance and the large city of Green Cox along Highway 25. We were going to show the location of each of the 30 police cars and 5 ambulances that arrived, but there simply isn't enough room available on the map.

When police arrived on the scene, nobody had any clue what to do. "One wrecked minivan stopped right on the Cape-Stoddard line," explained one disheveled police officer who remained on the scene all day. "The front left wheel was firmly in Stoddard terrority but the rest of the motor vehicle was in Cape County. After the Cape and Stoddard County sheriff deputies argued for 30 minutes about who had jurisdiction, they finally compromised and decided to settle the matter with paper-rock-scissors. Cape won."

Cape County also won because the Kia and Gasguzzler responsible for the accident remained on the Cape side of the boundary. As a result, most of the traffic ticket revenue from the ten-car pileup will go into Cape County's coffers. Police from the other counties were upset at the outcome. "I went five hours without coffee with nothing to show for it? What a rip!" stammered one of Bollinger County's finest, who was later caught trying to push one of the vehicles into his county just so he would have something to do.

The confusion was compounded by the fact that the descriptions of the county boundaries are fairly vague. According to a Missouri statute enacted in 1882, the Cape Girardeau County line extends from "... Farmer Bob's outhouse westward 5023 cow-lengths to the well-known point where Leroy Welch was kicked by a mule in 1881... and thence due north 1.2 miles to the big hanging tree where the lynch mobs always gather..."

"We were finally able to sort out this mess," one police officer from Advance commented. "But there was quite a bit of confusion for several hours. Let's just hope there's never a major wreck on the Mississippi River bridge at Cape on the state line..."