Dear Mr. Officer...

Sunday, August 10th 2008, 10:42 pm
By: News 9

Today we covered a horrific car crash on the Northeast side of the city.  Possibly one of the worst I've ever seen - and I've seen a lot of nasty accidents in my day.

To sum it up:  Police say a 24-year old driver, who was under the influence of ‘something', decided to slam into two vehicles at one intersection, and then blew a red-light at another intersection at a high-rate of speed.  This resulted in her slamming into a van that flew into the air and landed on top of another car.

I remember walking up to the scene and I had to stop for a moment to take it all in.  There were at least 100 bystanders running around, screaming, crying and trying to help out in anyway possible.  One woman was still trapped in her car.  Another woman was holding a screaming kid who was inside the van that flipped.  And there was the body of a more elderly woman lying lifeless in the middle of Kelley Ave.  She was thrown into the van's windshield and her limbs were shredded. 

At this point I became very irritated because an older police officer runs up to me and screams "tell your photographer I don't want him videotaping the body anymore."

My only response was a puzzled look on my face.

"I know he's already taking pictures of it. Tell him to stop NOW", continued the officer who was a FTO (field training officer).

I said "sure" and just moved along because I know the photographer, David Young, isn't videotaping the body.  He's not like that.  In fact, not one of our photographers here at News 9 are vultures who set out looking to create a "Faces of Death - Oklahoma City style" tape when the come to work.  I'm insulted this cop thinks we are.

About this officer:   Forget the fact that he has no right, at all, to tell us what to videotape and what not to tape, there was still a wave of chaos unraveling before our eyes that he should have been paying more attention to.  Not us.  People needed help and at the time the police still thought the driver who created all this mess was still on the run.  That's what he should have been worried about.

News 9 has always, and always will, cooperate with local law enforcement officers and we have a very good working relationship with most, if not all, agencies in the area.  On top of that, we are always very respectful and sensitive to any situation that involves the loss of life.

I wish he'd realize this and think really, really hard:  when was the last time he saw images of an exposed body on local TV news. 


Rusty Surette