The story so farMark gets a call from Bud informing him that the OPP are looking for him. Mark immediately shuts down his phone and does his best to avoid any contact with the police…
Further south on Hwy. 400, Mark came upon the Ministry of Transportation’s Inspection Station outside Seguin, Ont. It was a bleak sort of stop, so much so that Mark had forgotten it was coming up. When he saw the flashing lights signaling trucks to pull in for inspection, Mark’s heart seemed to leap into his throat.
“I’m screwed now,” he said aloud. Mark was pulling an empty trailer, so weight wasn’t an issue. And he’d done several good circle checks on this trip, so the condition of Mother Load and the trailer wasn’t in question. Even his logbook – something so many drivers fudged or altered to get a load delivered or otherwise bow to the demands of their employer – was in perfect order. No, all Mark was worried about was that he was wanted by the OPP and if he pulled off the highway or onto the shoulder or otherwise tried to avoid the inspection station, he’d be fined and no doubt discovered.
This was it, he thought. He had no choice but to pull into the inspection station and let whatever happened happen.
Mark geared down, slowly easing Mother Load into an idle and gliding onto the scales. His weight wasn’t an issue and even from a purely visual standpoint his rig looked to be in top shape. Still, the MTO officer in the chicken coop signaled for him to pull over. And even though his heart was already racing, it skipped a beat when he saw an OPP cruiser sitting in the secondary inspection area.
“They didn’t have to come looking for me,” Mark said. “All they had to do was wait until I drove into their web.”
Mark pulled to a stop and left Mother Load idling. An MTO officer exited the chicken coop and headed toward him. At the same time the OPP constable got out of his cruiser and met up with his MTO counterpart. Together they closed in on Mark. Mark got out of Mother Load to meet them head on.
“This shouldn’t take long,” the MTO officer said with a smile. “It looks like you take care of your truck.”
Mark smiled back at the woman. Sure, he thought, play it cool, then close in for the kill. As she began her inspection of his rig, Mark decided to beat them to the punch.
He turned to the OPP officer.
“Okay, you got me!”
“What are you talking about?” the officer said.
“You guys are looking for me.”
“We are? Why is that?”
“I don’t know,” Mark said. “But one of your officers has been trying to find me for a while now.”
“And you don’t know why?”
The officer’s eyebrows rose up slightly at the question, hinting a bit of sarcasm.
“I really don’t. But you’ve got me now so let’s get this over with.”
“Okay. Do you have any weapons on you or anything that might hurt me?” was the first thing the officer asked, his tone suddenly all business.
“Come over here to my cruiser. I just want to give you a quick pat-down search for my safety.”
Mark followed the officer over to his car and put his hands on the hood.
“You have any mental health issues, sir?” he asked, emptying Mark’s pockets of their belongings.
Mark was stunned by the question. “No, why?”
He gave everything back to Mark except his driver’s licence then asked him to get into the back of his cruiser.
Inside, the officer ran Mark’s driver’s licence on his mobile computer, then accessed his identity on CPIC, the Canadian Police Information Computer.
“Well, well, well…” he said.“What? What is it?”
“You show up a lot on the system.”
“Yeah, but it’s usually as a witness or someone assisting during an incident.”
Mark didn’t know what to think.
“I do tend to help people a lot. I didn’t know that kind of stuff would turn up on the police computer, though.”
“All kinds of things show up on the system. Some good, some bad.”
“Like warrants for my arrest?”
The officer nodded.
“That would show up here, but there doesn’t seem to be anything current on you. As far as I can tell, no police agency in Canada is looking for you. If they were, we’d see a ‘Hold’ or something and I’d have to take you into custody.”
“But there isn’t one.?”
“Nope, as far as I can tell you’re good to go.”
The officer got out of the cruiser and opened the back door so Mark could get out.
“He’s clear,” the OPP officer told his MTO counterpart.“And your truck’s good too.”
“You mean I can go?”
Mark hurried back to Mother Load and wasted little time getting back on the highway.
He was relieved, but also perplexed “What in the world are they calling me about?”
Back on the 400 heading south, Mark turned on his cell phone to see if he’d missed any calls. There were plenty, especially from Bud and someone calling from an unknown number.
Just then the phone came alive with the familiar “This Buds for You” jingle. Mark answered, “Hey Bud’s.”
“Listen, that copper keeps calling me. Why don’t you answer your phone?”
“Would you answer?”
“You haven’t been answering my calls either.”
“I shut off my phone.”
“That’s no way to run a business in this day and age.”
After a pause, Bud said, “You know, this isn’t something this cop is going to forget about. It’s not going to go away by ignoring it.”
“No, I guess not.”
“He left his number again. You want me to give it to you?”
“No, I’ve got it,” Mark said. He took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. “I’ll call him.”
“Good, you’ll feel better for it.”
Mark hung up on Bud and dialed the officer’s number. Mark was surprised that it was a direct number, not something that went through OPP dispatch.
“Frauds, Constable Camacho speaking,” the officer answered.
“Uh, constable? My name is Mark Dalton. I understand you want to talk to me.”
“Oh, hey, yeah, how are you doing? I’ve been calling you for what seems like days.”
“Well, you got me now. What’s the bad news?”
“No bad news. Actually, it’s good news. The OPP wants to give you a civilian citation for your help breaking the Chennai trucking case. That put a big dent in insurance fraud in the trucking industry all across Ontario.”
Mark was speechless, but managed to say, “You mean you’re giving me an award?”
“Yes, sir. There’s a dinner to attend and everything. It’s actually a pretty big deal. Congratulations!”