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Car 520, where are you?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Car 520, where are you?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 14, 2012

Had this call gone out yesterday at about 12:15PM, a deputy would have had to answer, "I'm stopped in the middle of 120 and blocking traffic unnecessarily." Deputies always tell the truth, don't they?

Yesterday I was on my way to McHenry for lunch, when my travels were rudely interrupted with the urgent need to take a photograph. What could be so urgent?

As I rode east on Route 120 at W. Wonder Lake Rd., I saw flashing lights ahead. Two cars and a school bus partially blocked my view, but I anticipated the need to go slowly and probably ease over into the middle of the road to allow a safe passing space between my motorcycle and any emergency vehicle on the shoulder.

Sure enough, Bull Valley PD was stopped just east of W. Wonder Lake Rd. with two vehicles. Maybe he was ticketing both, or maybe there had been a little fender-bender. The two passenger cars and the squad car were fully on the shoulder, and the eastbound lane should have been mostly clear.

And it was, except for McHenry County Sheriff's squad car 520, which was stopped squarely in the middle of the eastbound lane with its emergency lights flashing away. The squad car was stopped right alongside the Bull Valley PD car, so that it would have been easy for the two officers to chat away.

Why would the MCSD squad car be stopped right in the traffic lane, where the two vehicles in front of me, along with the school bus, had to cross the center line into the oncoming traffic lane in order to pass around the MCSD car? Was it a felony stop? Was he assisting Bull Valley PD? Were they arresting murderers or robbers? Probably not, since the deputy was sitting behind the wheel of his car.

I could think of only one reason, and that was because he could stop there. After all, who is going to complain? Who is going to write him a ticket? No one! Was the Bull Valley cop going to say, "You know - you really are blocking traffic." Yeah, sure.

I pulled over to take a picture but, by the time I got stopped and got my camera out, the deputy had shut off his emergency lights and was proceeding on east on 120.

Is it too much to ask cops to be the first to obey traffic laws, instead of the last?

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