Today’s “only in America” story starts in the wee hours of Saturday morning, August 3, 2013, at the end of a birthday celebration that closed Charlie’s Lounge, an establishment in the town of Soddy-Daisy in the great state of Tennessee. (And thanks to Rob Robinson for turning me on to this gem.)
Sometime before 3 a.m., an off-duty policeman left Charlie’s with two sisters.
An on-duty policeman would later determine that although the off-duty officer had been drinking, he was not “too intoxicated to drive.”
One of the two sisters would prove “too drunk to give a statement.”
If I’m correctly interpreting the incident report published by The Chattanoogan.com (which ain’t easy), the off-duty police officer was driving his Toyota pickup down a road. Coming up the road behind them was a woman named Melissa who said she was driving home from the gym. At 3 a.m.
(EDIT: As unlikely as that sounds, considering the Tennessee women I’ve known, I received an email from Melissa shortly after I published this saying that she got home from a business trip at 11 p.m. that night–a 500-mile road trip–unwound bit with her husband, then went to the gym at 1:30 Saturday morning and was indeed coming home from the gym at 3 a.m.)
Anyway, Melissa drove up close behind the off-duty officer, who pulled to the side to let Melissa pass, then pulled back onto the road and began tailgating Melissa. Showing her annoyance, Melissa apparently “brake checked” the Toyota pickup repeatedly.
Melissa turned off the main road toward her house.
Enraged, the off-duty officer followed her.
Frightened, Melissa called her husband, Brett, screaming, “Get a gun and the dog!”
When she reached her home, she turned into the driveway. The off-duty police officer followed her into her driveway and parked, leapt out of his truck, and followed Melissa toward her house, cussing her because she had been brake checking and “bright lighting” him.
At that point, her husband Brett intervened. He told the man berating and following his wife to “halt.”
The off-duty police officer said, “I’m a police officer.”
Husband Brett probably said something to the effect of, “Maybe, but I’ve got a gun.”
Brett ordered the off-duty police officer to get on his knees.
The off-duty police officer refused.
Brett fired a warning shot. The off-duty police officer complied.
At that point, the two drunk sisters joined the fracas, verbally insulting Melissa.
“A few choice words were said,” until Melissa slugged one of the sisters in the jaw.
Both sisters jumped her.
Brett fired another warning shot and ordered the two sisters to “get on the ground.”
They refused until the off-duty police officer on his knees told them it would probably be a good idea to do what the man said.
The two sisters got on their knees with the off-duty police officer.
Melissa had a neighbor call the cops.
When the on-duty police arrived, they found Melissa and armed Brett standing over the off-duty police officer and the drunk sisters.
Brett put down his weapon, and the on-duty policemen sorted things out.
The off-duty police officer apologized to Brett and Melissa and said he regretted the incident.
Brett said that he was “glad he didn’t shoot him,” and declined to press charges.
At that point, Brett and the off-duty police officer shook hands, and Brett told the off-duty police officer that he loved him.