Another extract from the Walsh files.
I met Peter Overingham on a Monday.
Peter was an average sort of guy, married to Sally and the father of two young kids. He worked a nine to five twenty job, with an hour for lunch, in the back end of a bank. It was a job that provided the money required to supplement Sally’s earnings to support their lifestyle. It wasn’t a job he particularly liked and he was always dreaming of finding something better.
One of the problems of working in a job you don’t enjoy is Monday morning. Peter was no exception to this rule. Like many of his mates, he spent most of his weekends escaping the drudgery of his existence watching sport and drinking booze. Red wine was his poison of choice but it was often replaced with beer, due to budgeting restrictions imposed by Sally.
Red wine fuelled Sundays always led to a starting problem on Mondays. Invariably, Peter would find himself rushing to get to work after having slept through the alarm and being woken by Sally shouting at him, as she was herding the kids into the car to drop them at school on her way to work.
Most days Peter used public transport but, especially on Mondays, he often drove his car into the city in a vain attempt to get to work on time.
On the Monday I met Peter, he had chosen the car option. If he hadn’t been so intimidated by his immediate supervisor, who seemed to enjoy humiliating him in front of his workmates whenever he was late, he might have taken the more sensible option of the bus.
In my opinion, a man should not drive when his brain is in a red wine induced fog and he is going to be late for work. But Peter hadn’t asked for my opinion at that point.
Peter made it safely out of his street and into the traffic stream on the main road leading from the suburb where he lived into the city. He was going with the flow, listening to his favourite music station. He thought he had everything under control.
The lights at the last intersection he approached changed to red without Peter noticing. He drove his car into the side of the small blue sedan that suddenly appeared in front of him from out of nowhere. There was a loud bang. Peter noticed that.
Peter sat stunned, until someone opened the door of his car to see if he was okay. He was unhurt, apart from a bruise across his chest caused by the seat belt doing its job.
The police were on the scene within minutes. They asked a few questions. There were plenty of witnesses.
Unfortunately, he’d driven his car into the driver’s side door at a speed sufficient to kill the woman driving the other car on impact.
After the ambulance had been and gone, the police took a blood alcohol reading and, despite not having imbibed a drop of booze since around eleven thirty the night before, Peter still generated a score above the legal limit.
Peter was taken to the City Watch House, which was where I met him.
the image is from the clipart collection by macmanus