I was trying to make my way to a weapons disturbance call. A man called in after a black male pointed a gun at his neighbor (come to find out his neighbor was getting robbed). I'm at an intersection when I spot a car going the wrong way. It's going west in the east bound lane. I watch it drive over the median into the correct lane, make a u-turn and come back. I then see the front of the car of caved in and has one working headlight. All the classic signs of a drunk who had just gotten into an accident. I cut in between some cars and go after the vehicle which takes a while stop. We pull into a parking lot and a 78 year old man with thick bottle glasses steps out. Okay, this is another explanation. I examine the damage and it looks old. Still, I check to see if anyone is working an accident looking for this vehicle and nothing. What gets me is that the front is caved in, both stickers have been out for over a year, and both airbags have been deployed. How the hell is he driving like this? I cannot let him drive off. I ask him if he has anyone he can call but he can't. Now, had he been about 30 years younger I can simply arrest him for all the traffic violations (called an instanter arrest), tow his car and be done with it. However no way I can instanter a 78 year old man simply because it was too dangerous for him to drive and plus it would look really, really bad. He lives way out of my district, yet the only option I can come up with is to have him park his car here and get another officer (who works until 2AM) to drive him home. I choose that option. The other officer takes the old man home.
This took place last night. Today I get to work and there is a message from the man's wife looking for the car. I call her and explain what happened. She then says I must be a man of God. Well, I wouldn't go that far with a compliment but I'm flattered nonetheless. She tells me that he is an Alzheimer's patient. They were staying at a hotel because their air conditioning at home went out. He was supposed to be going by the house to check on their animals and hours later I find him about 20 miles away! I had no idea the family had been looking for him (he wasn't reported missing at the time). So, turns out I made a good call on him. Because I felt so adamant that he was not driving away from that parking lot I more than likely prevented him, or someone else from getting hurt. His wife said he's a two time purple heart winner and he was a "knuckleheaded sergeant" who is used to taking orders, not giving them. I can certainly understand where he is coming from. He doesn't want to listen to his wife (don't most men). Yet he is a danger to himself and others on the road.