The Meanest Woman in Lancaster- a mostly true story.
Lancaster Police Department 1973. At least six of these guys are dead. Gone but not forgotten. I am the second guy kneeling on the left, TJ is the first.
I was working the night shift out of Patrol Division :)
Actually, I was the watch commander in my little town of less than 10,000 people in the mid seventies when we encountered the meanest woman in Lancaster, SC. (She is dead now so I feel comfortable telling this story.)
My numer two guy Cpl R. D. (we'll just call him RD from now on) stopped a car late one night as a possible Driving Under the Influence. I headed over to back him up because, you never know. A word or two about RD. He was not "slow" in the classic sense but his calmness and nerves were surely legend.
He told me on the radio that he had a white female who was probably a DUI and would not get out of the car. As I pulled up I saw RD standing at the opened driver's door talking to the lady. I was about to get out when she pulled off, leaving RD standing there.
I jerked my car into drive and peeled out ................. but stopped when I got to RD. He turned to look in my car window and said "Well, I'll be damned."
He said it with absolutely no excitement, no anger,no emotion, just flat and matter of fact.
Like Buford T. Justice, I was in hot pursuit! But was disappointed to catch up quickly as the chasee was only going about 40 mph. RD fell in behind me and I passed the woman. I began to slow down in order to stop her and suddenly she rammed the back of my car!
Then I heard RD's calm voice on the radio "Look out,......uh, ..... I think ..........she's going to ram you."
"No shit!" I thought as she hit me the third time. I locked the brakes and we skidded to a stop. Now I have never hit a woman in my life and I have never wanted to more than that night.
Effie Lee was a huge, Camel smoking, Budweiser guzzling mountain of a woman. (She had a last name but I think I'll leave it out.) She sat frozen behind the wheel of her car with both her hands locked on the steering wheel and stared straight ahead. I asked her kindly to please step out of the vehicle. She questioned the likelihood that my parents had ever been married, the size and very existence of my privates and said a lot of other stuff that would make most guys in the Navy blush. It went downhill from there.
Shortly, my Lieutenant, T.J .showed up. And as he often did while I worked for him, he managed to do something I couldn't . He conned her into getting out of the car. I don't remember how, but he was forever doing stuff like that. I worked for him when I made detective and he was always getting confessions I couldn't, finding evidence I missed, you know irritating stuff like that. Drove me nuts! Anyway he got her out and we took her in. End of story? Not hardly.
At the station we had the dispatcher search Effie Lee since they were both female and then Effie called her a "smirky faced bitch". I have to admit that was funny. When Effie blew into the breathalyzer there was so much alcohol on her breath it got drunk, flew to Vegas and married a slot machine! We put her in the women's cell in our little jail and "resumed routine patrol". That means we went looking for free coffee and girls at the local 7-11.
About an hour later the "smirky faced bitch" dispatcher was on the radio yelling about a fire at the PD. When I pulled up, Lt. TJ was carrying a smoking matress out the front door into the parking lot. Effie Lee had sat the jail on fire!
About a year later I got a call to Effie Lee's house for a criminal domestic violence. Hard to imagine, isn't it?
She was the suspect. Her husband was about half her size, meek as a lamb and I never felt sorrier for a man. I know he lived a hard life because we all did that one night in Lancaster.
The patch we wore on our uniforms in the 70's. None of the Campaign hats survived!
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