Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Don't walk away from me!" Sound and fury signifying nothing?

"Don't Walk Away from Me!"

Peter Patau Photo

I was about to leave my secret parking space on East Lakeside after yesterday's Polar Plunge at Madison's Olin-Turville Park when a cacaphony of sirens and flashing lights came speeding toward me.

Instantly the reflexes from a wayward youth during which I dabbled as a freelance photographic ambulance chaser awakened from their long slumber. I grabbed the D40x from the front seat of the car and raced toward the scene about a block away. As I ran toward the intersection of John Nolen Drive and Lakeside, I fumbled with the camera and manually dialed back the exposure comp 2/3 of a stop to avoid blowing out the highlights too badly in the contrasty midafternoon sunlight. I ran up to the flashing lights, firing away with the wide angle, figuring I could crop in tighter later if need be.

I encountered a mystery: three squad cars with flashing lights, an ambulance and a fire engine, all surrounding a taxi and another car with no visible damage, at least from my angle. I had no idea of what the fire engine was for. Nothing was burning. The only thing that seemed odd was that both cars were pointing the wrong way into the off-ramp from John Nolen Drive (that triangular sign is the back of a yield sign). Had one car possibly cut the other off during a turn? Had they swerved into these positions? I have absolutely no idea.

All I know is that, as I shot this photo, the police officer in the center of the picture confronted the cab driver who towered over him. With an irritated edge in his voice, he shouted these words at the driver:
"Hey -- I'm the one running this Investigation. Don't walk away from me! I need to talk to you."
Sound and fury signifying nothing? Who knows? I left about the time the fire engine left, and the various parties were still standing there discussing whatever had happened. It looked as if they might continue wrangling or some time.

(Note: To see all the detail in the photo, click on it to enlarge in Flickr.)

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