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.