Sit back and enjoy an extract from the latest book by Mark Eklid, called ‘Family Business’.
They were probably dead. I knew that as soon as I arrived at the scene. You develop an instinct when you’ve been doing this for as long as I have.
The call from Control said there were reports of fatalities and, naturally, you suspect the worst when you hear those words but as soon as you respond to say you’re on your way you’re already thinking about the best route to get you there as quickly as you can. The sooner you can get there, the better. You never just assume the worst. You should never assume anything in this job because it’s rarely straightforward and often surprises you – sometimes in a good way.
I reckoned I was only about five minutes away when the call came through that night and, because it was so late, there was hardly any traffic around, so I got there no problem. I was the first on the scene.
I started to slow down when I saw the hazard lights of a car parked on the left of the road. There was nobody else around, so I reckoned these had to be the people who had called the accident through. It was the end of a fairly long straight stretch at that point, just before the road turned to the right, and there was no street lighting, so you could see the intermittent blinks of amber light for quite a while in the full beam. I killed the sirens and slowed down.
It’s a bit of a relief, actually, when you see that the witnesses have stayed and waited for you to get there because they don’t always. Sometimes they’ll drive off when they see the police car arriving. Maybe they think they’ve done their bit or maybe there’s a reason why they don’t want to talk to the police at that time, I don’t know, but you have to make sure you get a clear look at them on the camera as you drive up, just in case, so that you’ve recorded their number plate. This time they stayed, which is good. It means you can get a statement from them without having to go through the hassle of having to track them down later.
I pulled up a bit of a way behind the car because I could see in my headlights a gap in the hedge to my left and the steam rising from another vehicle where it had come to a very sudden halt against a very large tree. The other car was a bit further down the road. I positioned my car on an angle, pointing towards the crash scene so that it was illuminated by my headlights, and left the blues going. If anyone was to come down the road from either direction, you want them to see there had been an incident and, hopefully, they work out that they’re not meant to try to continue along the road. You can set up proper road blocks when other units arrive, but you have to do all you can as soon as you get there because it’s important to preserve the scene for the Serious Collision Investigation team to do their jobs properly.
You can buy ‘Family Business’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.