Gang initiation?

It was Friday night a couple of summers back.

My friend and I came out of a late movie downtown and walked the few blocks to my car on campus. The entrance drive to this particular lot has rough cobblestone pavers with ruts that will shake your car to pieces if you go over 10 mph.

We’re leaning against the car talking, when this early 60’s Chevy van comes barreling through the driveway. He’s doing at least 20. There’s a huge CRASH and we run over. A young guy, Hispanic in his early 20’s, is lying on the ground BEHIND the van. Blood – not a lot, fortunately – is oozing from his left temple.

I grab my cell phone, dial 911 and give the cops the only logical explanation for what just happened – this guy must have been crossing the alley and got run over.

To quickly backtrack, my friend had been leaning against the side of the car facing the entrance drive, so he had a better view than I did. During a lull in the ensuing action he told me the driver’s side door was hanging open when the van came through the alley –and this guy was riding on the door!

The crashing sound was his body slamming into a power line pole! The van never hit anything. It wound up in a flowerbed.

So there we were. The guy is holding his head, trying to get up and can’t make it. A cop is yelling in my ear about keeping him on the ground, so we’re making ‘stay down’ gestures with our arms.

The van doors open - we hear beer bottles rolling out and smashing against the pavers –and three more young Hispanic guys pile out.It’s a standoff. We don’t know Spanish - or who or what we’re dealing with. They aren’t speaking English and fortunately don’t threaten us.
They just want to get out the hell out of there!

They try helping their friend up, but he isn’t going anywhere. Suddenly, they take off running. A blue pickup rolls up, the guy gets out and without saying a word goes chasing after them.

I’m on the phone with the police this whole time,trying to tell them where we’re at. I find out the city police don’t know where anything is located on campus! Telling them which lot we’re in isn’t cutting it, so I finally run half a block to the edge of campus and read the street signs to tell them where to find us.

For a few minutes after that it’s just the three of us. My friend gets some paper towels, but that’s all we can do for the guy.

Suddenly his friends come back - they must have ditched the guy chasing them – and make one last attempt at getting him out of there. No good.

We’re finally hearing sirens, so they take off again.

This time the cops want me to keep an eye on them. I watch them run to the sidewalk across from campus. Suddenly one of the three starts beating the living hell out of one of the other guys. Knocks him down and just keeps pounding. The third guy’s not even watching. He just waits to be arrested. I tell the cops to send another ambulance.

They arrive moments later and it’s cops everywhere.They pull me and my friend apart to see if our stories match and let us go. The guy from the blue pickup finally comes back and tells me he works at a nearby parking garage. He’d seen the guys running and decided to chase them. I wouldn’t do that.

The newspapers don’t have anything about it the next day. Just as well, we don’t want our names in the paper or have reporters calling us. We go back to check out the blood on the pavers, but that’s about it. We never found out what it was about. Our best guess is either a gang initiation or some drunk, crazy kids.


Name kept secret
Location kept secret


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