The highways can be a dangerous place.

I was driving home the other night with my wife, daughter, son-in-law and three dogs in the car.

We were returning home from a family dinner in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with my son and his new bride.

After an evening of eating pizza and planning our next Disneyland vacation (only 472 days away), it was time to go home.

Driving west along Highway 30 I noticed a pickup gaining on me and kept wondering why he didn’t go around me.

He kept getting closer and closer, and I was started to think I was going to get hit when he finally moved over to the other lane and zoomed past me.

I noticed the Platte County license plate and for a moment wondered if it was someone I knew trying to have a little dangerous fun.

However, as I watched it roar down the highway, estimating its speed of at least 80 mph, I noticed the driver would hit his brakes sporadically and then would veer off onto the shoulder of the road.

Drunk driver I suspected.

It really started to worry me. What if he rolled his truck? What is he overcorrected and drove into oncoming traffic?

I called 911.

As I followed him I described what I was seeing to the dispatcher. He continued to hit is brakes for no reason and occasionally drive on the shoulder.

As we approached North Bend, Neb., there was enough traffic ahead of him he had to slow down to the point I caught up and saw his license plate.

I made a second call to the dispatcher and relayed that information as he pulled off onto a side street in North Bend.

The dispatcher said there was an officer in the area, and I was hopeful he would be stopped and taken off the road.

I would have felt more comfortable if I had seen the officer stop him, so I knew he was off the road, but I’m glad there was an officer looking for him.

That was a scary trip home. I was sure I was going to see an accident, either him rolling the truck or worse, hitting another driver.

I have no idea what was going on with the driver, but it sure seemed like he was under the influence of something, not just bad driving.

This is the fourth time I have called 911 to report a driver whose driving made me think he or she was drunk, and it is always stressful. You never know if you are going to see an accident or not, and luckily I have not.

Watching this driver kick up dirt while veering onto the shoulder of the highway was as close as I want to come to seeing an accident caused by someone who shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

Hopefully, it is the last time I see this, but that’s not how life works.

Be careful out there because not everyone else is.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.