Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Man walks nearly 30 miles for court appearance - cops chip in to get him a ride back home.


LILBURN — It all started with a joke, really.
Working security at municipal court Tuesday morning, Lilburn Police Officer Andy Blimline was ready with a quip as a middle-aged man huffed and puffed his way in to address a traffic citation.
“What’d you do, run here?” Blimline asked.
“No,” the man said, finally out of the brutally cold air. “I walked.”
The unidentified man had walked some 29 miles to get to court, leaving his Fulton County home at 1 a.m. on one of the coldest Georgia days in decades. The car accident he had been ticketed for had totaled his vehicle and he didn’t have any other way to get to Lilburn.
After paying a roughly $50 citation, the man was leaving and preparing for another long journey on foot.
Blimline wasn’t having it.
“I said, ‘Well, do you want me to call you a cab?’” the officer told the Daily Post. “He was reluctant but he accepted the offer, and he was very, very happy.”
The taxi soon arrived and, after typing the man’s address into a GPS, Blimline handed over his credit card for the $80 trip. Three other members of the Lilburn Police Department chipped in, too: Officer Cody Belcher, Officer A.J. Ajonovic and Lt. Chris Dusik.
There were probably other options the man could have taken that morning, either rescheduling by phone or paying the citation without a trip to Lilburn. Blimline wasn’t sure what was behind his determination, but said one thing was certain.
“I didn’t want him walking another eight hours,” he said.
Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley praised the actions of his officer.
“Yes, police officers have this shell that people see, this hard shell, but underneath that blue shell is somebody that is kind and caring and has a big heart,” Hedley said. “I think this shows that we’re just people too.”