Bad behavior on the part of Pittsburgh drivers in our tunnels is a given, but what happened to us on Saturday night was a bit unusual anyway.

My single biggest gripe about our tunnels? Despite the fact that we all drive through them frequently, they’re still apparently something of a surprise, so we have to slow down upon entering them and, sometimes, again just before we exit. In the 16 years I’ve lived in the area, I don’t think I’ve ever made it through one of the tunnels without having to tap the brakes at least once.

So we weren’t surprised when we had to slow down shortly after entering the Squirrel Hill Tunnel while on the way home from Clumber Kim’s house Saturday night. And we weren’t surprised to find a Jeep Cherokee riding the rear end of Mrs. Crappy’s car immediately after we did so.

The surprise came when we heard sirens and saw lights entering the tunnel behind us. They all appeared to be in the right-hand lane, so even though you’re not supposed to change lanes in our tunnels, Mrs. Crappy moved her car over to the left to allow the cruisers to pass.

And that’s when the Cherokee roared past us, followed by two police cars from Wilkins Township and one city car. They flew by as well, followed shortly by other cruisers, from Monroeville and the state police.

They were moving, fast enough that we lost sight of them as they went around the bend past the Oakland exit. But traffic started to slow as we approached downtown, and just past Grant Street, we saw skid marks and a lot of glass in the right lane — one of the cars hit the wall just past the exit and kept going.

But not for long. We got stopped a short distance later, and had to wait for police — at least three more cruisers drove by on the berm — two ambulances and a wrecker to get the highway cleared.

When we finally got home, we turned on WPXI at 11, and heard that police were not chasing someone who would eventually be accused of assault or something similar — the folks in the Cherokee had taken perfume — a thousand bucks’ worth — from a salon at the Monroeville Mall. I was actually a little disappointed, because stretching a high-speed chase along the tightest stretch of the busiest freeway in the city for a retail theft doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do.

I’m happy to say we were fine, though. We avoided the wreck. We had to sit on the parkway for almost an hour, but we weren’t in any danger — the car was stocked with leftover chili and beer. We could’ve stayed for much longer.

WPXI’s short spot on the chase.


  1. I watch the Squirrel Hill tunnel every day from my window and always see back-ups from awful drivers. It’s amazing to think this happened just below my window! I’m always wondering what happened this time, hoping nothing too serious. This is why I stay off the parkway!


  2. I’m not a huge fan of letting people get away with stealing stuff, but surely they had the license number and could have caught up with them later, and without endangering the lives of a bunch of innocent people on the parkway. That’s infuriating to me.


  3. Last year some police from a small local township out here engaged in a high-speed pursuit of a guy that stole a vacuum. It ended when he got onto our busiest highway heading the wrong way and crashed head-on into an oncoming car, killing the young pregnant woman that was driving it.


  4. For as much as I bitch about my commute, I am thankful it doesn’t take me through any tunnels. Although I have noticed an uptick in accidents at the Coraopolis exit off 79N lately.

    Glad you, the Mrs., the beer and the chili were all okay. (Who won??)


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