Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17th, 2011

I used to have this lofty goal, to never have any record of getting involved with the police....
But, I guess that's history now!! =)

Tuesday night a week ago was incredible. When I look back, I can only say that God was looking out for me, protecting me, and teaching me an important lesson!

I am excited to share this story, because it's pretty awesome =)

With only two days left of the semester, and many changes boiling just on the horizon, Tuesday I decided to get away for an hour. It was late at night, after the special preaching conference at church, and I wanted to get off-campus - my roommates had the room a chaotic disaster in their packing. Hopping in the car, I cruised out the gates and onto 10th Street, into the dark.

It was quiet, peaceful, perfect. I pulled into an empty parking lot and shut off the car, absorbing the solitude. It was around 11pm. The city was shrouded in deep darkness. I left my seat buckle on, but reclined the driver's seat and settled back to pray and think.

After just a few minutes, I saw a really awesome spectacle: a helicopter flying low over the trees, coming down the street with its powerful beams sweeping back and forth. It hovered slowly, low to the street, and rumbled along with the steady speed of a dumptruck. I was enamored, watching with the curiosity and fascination of a little child. I'd never see one that close. =)
He passed along the street by my car, moving along on, doing his thing. After a minute, I went back to my own business. Interesting moment over! Or so I thought....
You know that feeling you get when something is just "not right"? Maybe it's intuition. Maybe it's a sixth sense. Suddenly a chill running up your spine, and your little hairs stand up like little soldier, transfixed. You really DON'T want to turn around. Sound familiar?
Well, I did.
Actually, I looked to the left out my window and saw a man.
A BIG man.
A TALL man.
A BLACK man.
A man. About half an inch away from me through the questionable protection of the window glass.
And me, a tiny little girl all alone in a car in a dark parkinglot.
I really can't capture the details of what happened next; I really don't remember through the turmoil of terror and surprise. I understood he was trying to get in; I couldn't find my horn; I dropped my cellphone off my lap; I couldn't find my horn; I couldn't get my seat to pull back into its upright position; I couldn't find my horn!
As quick as the blink of an eye, he was running around to the other side of my car to get in that way. THRILL of TERROR! I was buckled in, and there was no way I could reach across fast enough to try to lock the other doors.
But, Praise God, they were already locked! He tried both doors, determined to get it at me. I wonder what he was thinking; my screams and unintelligable shouts weren't slowing him down one bit.
Suddenly he was gone.
Running off into the night, like a shadow, skirting along the edge of the street as he spanned the distance of the parking lot, he was gone. The greater the distance he put between us, the better. I watched him run, and probably quite idiotically, sat there in my car dumbfounded. What had just happened?
Before much of anything could get processed, a new complication came on the scene. Police cars, llights flashing, raced down the road in my direction. Whoa. Not anything new - 10th Street is one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city - but still an unexpected arrival. As they came rushing by, lights sweeping through the darkness, I had a realization.
Police cars.
Shirtless man running through the parkinglot.
Maybe a correlation?
I sat there, freak out, as I watched the helicopter sweeping its beams of the trees and the cop cars flashing in tandem. Could they see the man in the darkness? Did they know where he was, like I knew? Did they know what he had done?
And what could a man do... to initiate such a response from the police force? Where they... chasing him? Was that a high-speed chase I was in the middle of? Was he a runaway convict? A murderer? Rapist? Worse?!
As I came to the conclusion that the only reasonable explanation was they were, indeed, chasing that man, I had the urgent need to make sure they got him. I knew where he was; I could still see him. But I was suddenly overwhelmingly worried they wouldn't see him. I had to tell them.
Turning on my car, forgetting about the seat or the horn, I sped off after the police vehicles, flashing my lights furiously. As I approached, before I was too close, suddenly the helicopter was above me, bathing the street in fierce white light, and the cop cars swerved onto the sidewalk. Jumping from thier cars, rushing in the same direction - I saw the man materialize in the darkness, throwing up his hands, being wrestled to the ground, cops everywhere.
Hands shaking, I sped by and pulled into another parking lot a few blocks down. I watched, completely unsure of what to do, as the helicopter and police cars converged in a tight, busy little circle. Eventually, the minutes ticked by. And finally... they all left...
I drove back to campus and pulled in the gates at the security tower, where the guard greeted me as per protocol. But for the first time in six months of casually passing by that station, I felt enormous gratitude for the safety it represented.
A long story made short, I spent most of the night in the security tower with the guards. As soon as they heard what happened, they closed down the campus and called Jude Buffington, head of security for the college. He lived just across the street where he could keep endless vigil, and came over right away with his beautiful German Shepherd, Masey, trained and at attention. I felt so much safer with her near me! They called the police, my head RA at the dorm, my sister, and both Dean of Students.

A bottle of water for the stress, a tootsie-roll pop for the nerves, and I was sitting on a stool talking to a serious-faced, midde-aged lady copy to give my report. She was actually one of the officers who had been in the cars that carried out the chase and arrest, and so she was very interested to hear my perspective of the incident.
He was a wanted "gang-banger," she informed me, dangerous and brutal. They'd been trying to get him off the streets for a long time, watching him closely on thier radar, waiting for the opportunity to pounce. That very night there had been a gangfight that broke out across the east end of 10th Street, and this gangster ended up attacking an innocent bystander. When the police started chasing him, he took off into the night.
This man ran through the empty parkinglots until he came across me, and my car. Where would he have stopped? Just dragging me out and stealing my car? Or...?
The police officer was just as moved as I was. "Really, I should not be talking with you right now. If I've ever seen a God-thing in my line of work, I saw it tonight," she said to me. Wow. "It is incredible all your car doors were locked."
What an experience!!!
I don't think I'll ever forget it. I surely learned some things that night, and was humbled that my heavenly Father was watching out for me. Sometimes, just little things count the most. Like locking all the doors, instead of just mine... God knew, even if I didn't. And what seemed insignificant to me, He knew would be ultimately vital.
I'm happy to be alive and around, let me tell you!! =)
Now school is over... what a way to end the year! And, I'm in my beloved Pekin, IL, to help my best friend get married, and just relax for the first time this year.
My next post on all the fun of the wedding will be coming up shortly =) Hope everyone is having a great start to thier summer!
Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety.


  1. PRAISE GOD YOU ARE SAFE! Don't we have an amazing God?

  2. What a great verse to go with your experience! Thank you for sharing that with us. Let me tell you, I will definitely be locking all my car doors for sure now each time I get in the car!


  3. Wow! God was most certainly looking out for yoU!

    Glad you are safe!


  4. locked doors, and no more being alone in lonely parking lots. love you and thankful you were kept safe. Grma

  5. Definitely a lesson well learned!
    I don't know why I have such an intersting life... =)

  6. Again love the post! How amazing it was to hear this story on campus the next day since you were still a little overwhelmed by it. but who wouldn't be I'd probably have screamed my self haha. But it does show for a fact that our God does exist and HE DOES watch out for us. Plus the fact that the popo lady said it was a "God thing," shows that those who don't believe knows He exists which is all the more reason for us to go out and soul win ;)

    -Justin L

  7. Wow, girl. I am so glad God kept you safe...so glad!