Saturday, May 21, 2011

P.I. Drive By

Use to be, I was eager to tell people I am a P.I.
Brought me business and conversation...
A degree of mystery.
I was the delight of dinner parties and campfires.
And after a life time of writing.... about others lives...
and others' adventures...
suddenly I had my own adventures to tell.

Now it's all different.
I want to be invisible.
Just do my job and go home.

As a self-employed Private Investigator,  working mostly for attorneys, every day is different.
There is no morning a P.I. wakes up and can know, with any predictability, what and who the day will bring.

This can tick those who are close to the P.I. off because: social occasions are missed; plans are canceled at the last minute; and the hours we keep are often when others sleep. No one can predict when a crisis will happen.

We deal with lawyers as clients (best and easiest).
Or we deal with the general public (hardest and most treacherous).
The former (lawyer) affords investigator/client privilege.
The latter (general public) opens us up to a world of unhappy and occasionally dangerous physical, and legal, perils.
The investigator hired by and going through, an attorney, on a specific case... has all work product protected.
Not so when you work for an independent person without legal protection.

Right now It's Saturday night almost 10:00 pm.... the sun just set in Seattle.
The alleged end of the world didn't happen tonight at 6:00 pm.
That's a definite plus.

I recently got back from an Indian reservation after a case came in unexpectedly.
For privacy reasons I can't write specifically about the case, and have to change identifying factors about what happened.
I can say it was bad.
The DEF's pick-up had two people in it... both drunk, one driving.
They were headed around a bend and swerved across the double yellow line head-on into a sedan with one driver, dad... his wife beside him... and their five year old in the car seat behind dad. They were  all stone-cold sober. They were all headed out for a day of sight seeing,
The DEF/drunk car hit the sober car head on at a high rate of speed, yet the family's car's airbags did not deploy.
There was little damage to the drunk car, however, the family car  went spinning into a tree and one person was killed instantly.
That dead person was the mother, the passenger.
And she was my client.
Speaking for her would be her husband, who survived.
The five year old son also survived.
Also her  grieving mother and father were present at our initial meeting.

I went to their house, where she lived for 30 years.
Then to the road-side cross, where she died in an instant...a heartbeat... a chest to the steering wheeel. On the scene, I squatted down with my camera in hand... and read all the deep, emotional and private words people write on those hastily and artfully erected roadside memorials.
I photographed the scene... the sentimental items delicately wrapped around the crosses and flowers beside them,  from jewelry to pictures and poetry.I am always struck by the reverence of death.

I've been encountering quite a few of these dramatic and traumatic cases lately.
They all seem so important to me.
And  investigating on behalf of the victim, or the victim's family... gives me a sense of value that being a criminal defense investigator never did.
Instead of making excuses, I am making things happen with statements, photos, police reports, records releases... whatever it takes to convince an insurance company....or jury... when an injured person is hurt by someone it else, it is indeed life-altering.
Someone has to pay the bills.
I believe it mustn't be the innocent victim.

And so tonight.... I return to the blog and share the thoughts in my compartmentalized mind...
with the intent of doing so on a more frequent basis.
I will soon be writing a book and will use this space as a place to hone my skills...
provided people still read it.


  1. suni, thanks. and i'm glad. that makes one. lol.

  2. you need a hug? I don't get it but people are just not respecting themselves so they definetly don't respect other people. I think your job is glamourous, mysterious, exciting and interesting. I bet that man and his daughter felt better when you talked with them. Take care!