Claim:   Quick-thinking cop has a bit of fun with a drunk stuck in the snow by pretending to run alongside his car.


Example:    [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

In most of the Canadian Provinces there is a policy of checking on any stalled vehicle on the highway when the temperatures drop in the single digits or below.

One morning in March 2004 about 3AM, RCMP Constable Bill Wisen was awakened to respond to such a call of a car off the shoulder on the Trans Canada Highway outside of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Constable Wisen located the car still running, stuck in deep snow alongside the highway.

Pulling in behind it with his emergency lights on, Constable Wisen walked to the driver’s door to find an older man passed out behind the wheel and a near empty bottle of vodka in the seat. He tapped on the window and the driver woke up, seeing the rotating lights in his rear view mirror and the RCMP Constable standing next to his car, the man panicked, and he jerked the gearshift into drive and hit the gas. The car’s speedometer was showing 20-30-40 then 50 KPH, but it was still stuck in the snow.

Constable Wisen, having a sense of humour, began running in place next to the speeding but still stationary car. The driver was totally freaked thinking the officer is actually keeping up with him. This went on for about 20 seconds when Constable Wisen yelled at the man ordering him to “pull over”. This man obeyed and turned his wheel and stopped the engine. Once out of the car the drunken driver asked about the RCMPs’ special training and just how can the Constable run 50 KPH. The man, Mr. Robert Duport of Medicine Hat, was arrested still believing that an RCMP Constable had outrun his car.


Origins:   We first encountered this tale in May 2004. Since then, it has come to us under a variety of titles, including “Our RCMP are so talented” and “Nice People … Just not too bright.”

Many of the forwards lead off with the attribution line “Toronto Globe & Mail March 30, 2004.” Prodding the Globe and Mail’s online archive with phrases from what


has been passed off as that news organ’s work fetches the following result: “A search of the articles available on the site found 0 documents.”

Those less database driven in their quests for truth should have reached similar conclusions about the probity of this piece solely from the manner of its execution. Not even in Canada do reporters describe subjects in their accounts as “totally freaked,” nor do they handle the “when” part of the cornerstone who/what/when/where/how/why process inherent to news coverage as “One morning in March 2004.”

The story about the quick-witted constable and the drunk stuck in a snowbank does not turn up in other Canadian publications either, so this isn’t merely a case of the wrong newspaper having been listed.

In fact, the story is far older than the 2005 e-mailed version quoted above. A number of readers have reported hearing it as far back as 1978, often from relatives who happened to be members of the constabulary or from

fellow officers on the force, in the case of those who themselves were in law enforcement. Always told as true, local, and recent tales, readers have so far reported hearing the legend in Alberta, Utah, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Alaska, California, and Alabama. Over the years it has been told of drunk drivers stuck in snowbanks, mired in deep mud, bogged down in swampy terrain, or trapped on median strips, their cars’ wheels spinning helplessly in the air. In each case, the officers were said to have jogged beside the snared vehicles and ordered their ‘drivers’ to pull over. Often these recountings contained lovingly-shared details of how the inebriated miscreants were observed to go through the motions of braking and turning the steering wheels, in the manner of law breakers being pulled over for traffic violations.

Barbara “well, if they’re that fast, no wonder the Mounties always get their man” Mikkelson

Last updated:   10 July 2014