Wednesday, October 17, 2007

R.I.P. Common Sense

It was nice knowing you.

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -- A Williamston woman is alive, thanks to the quick response of a police officer who got her out of her car seconds before an Amtrak train slammed into it -- and it was all caught on camera.

Every night, Greer police Officer Marcus O'Shields meets an officer from the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport to exchange information. Tuesday, just after midnight, O'Shields went to the meeting place near the Norfolk Southern tracks along Highway 80 near the Poinsett Bridge.

That's when he spotted a car driven by Betsy Devall stopped on the tracks.

Devall was on the phone with a friend. It took O'Shields nearly a minute and a half to convince Devall to get out of the car and away from the vehicle -- just 17 seconds before the train crashed into the car.

"Ma'am, please get out of the vehicle."

"Do you mind? I'm on the phone."

God bless the police officer with the patience to carry on that conversation for 90 seconds without tazing the individual in question and dragging her out of the car in a semi-conscious state.

The incident was caught on camera by one of the officer's dashboard cameras. On tape, Devall is heard thanking O'Shields for saving her life. She told him she wasn't familiar with the area.

How about being familiar with train tracks?