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View Full Version : What to do when CCW at an accident scene?


MLeake
March 1, 2008, 03:20 PM
I was driving home on the interstate today, when I saw a tidal wave of water up beyond the line of cars in front of me. Since I don't live by the beach, the only logical explanation was that one or more vehicles must have wrecked into some water.

I pulled to the left shoulder when I saw the vehicles. They were in the median, both in a scummy pond in the depression at midpoint. The SUV had obviously rolled over.

Other samaritans had also pulled over. I immediately called 911, and started climbing out of my truck, when I realized I had my C3 in an IWB under a loose shirt.

Since I wasn't sure if I'd have to help extract people from partially submerged vehicles, and since I knew the cops were coming, I thought it best to pull out the holster and pistol and stick them under my front seat.

Running over to the scene, I quickly learned that all occupants were out of the vehicles, and that there were no apparent injuries. This was one of the more pleasant accident scenes I've happened across, in that regard.

Question is: Would other members have removed their weapon, given this scenario?

JohnKSa
March 1, 2008, 03:47 PM
I think I would have left it in place unless I felt there was a chance of it's falling out of the holster and getting lost. It can be cleaned up later and even if it rusts a little that's no big thing.

MLeake
March 1, 2008, 03:50 PM
I wasn't concerned about damaging the Sig. I was worried about my overshirt shifting if I had to assist victims, which could have revealed the pistol. I didn't want to scare crash victims or police officers.

Pshooter
March 1, 2008, 04:23 PM
Not a bad move, no need to upset people that are most likely rattled to begin with. Some people barely realize that ccw carriers are often the good guys that are willing to help when others stand by. Concealed means concealed.

Hard Ball
March 1, 2008, 04:59 PM
I would have left it in place.

Playboypenguin
March 1, 2008, 05:02 PM
I doubt I would have even thought to remove it so I would probably have just left it in place. It can always be cleaned up and dried out later. :)

Ridge_Runner_5
March 1, 2008, 05:53 PM
I wouldve kept it...there was a story recently about a couple of guys pulling over at a car wreck...they got out to help the guys, the people in the car hopped out, ran to the car of the two that had just pulled over and jumped in and drove off, then crashed it later that day...

DMacLeod
March 1, 2008, 06:07 PM
I would have left it right in its holster. The few seconds it takes to remove and hide it could be bad for the accident victim. As long as you are properly licensed I wouldn't worry about it.

Like PBP said, it can be dried off later.

Raytracer
March 1, 2008, 06:13 PM
I too would not have modified my CCW status. Just recently I read an account of someone assisting at an accident scene who was approached by another early lookie-loo who suggested in all seriousness relieving the victim of his wallet.

Accident scenes can be viewed as opportunity rich environments for all sorts of savory types.

And, if you should accidentally expose your weapon... well, I would think everyone present should have bigger things to worry about. If not, that's their problem.

As long as you are completely legal, don't worry about it.

Joe

Dwight55
March 1, 2008, 06:49 PM
If you are legal, . . . you are legal.

To take it off, . . . it may as well be in the vise in your basement.

May God bless,
Dwight

hoytinak
March 1, 2008, 06:50 PM
Yep...keep it on you.

MLeake
March 1, 2008, 07:37 PM
I think I agree with the majority opinion, here. Might as well have left it on.

JohnKSa
March 1, 2008, 07:43 PM
I was worried about my overshirt shifting if I had to assist victims, which could have revealed the pistol. I didn't want to scare crash victims or police officers.My guess is that in the situation you describe everyone would very likely assume you were an off-duty cop if you accidently flashed them.

orionengnr
March 1, 2008, 08:16 PM
Accident scenes can be viewed as opportunity rich environments for all sorts of savory types.

I think you mean, unsavory types...

Raytracer
March 1, 2008, 08:59 PM
I stand by my words! There all sorts of criminals at accident scenes. Delicious, buttery, criminals.

Joe

Pshooter
March 2, 2008, 01:19 AM
"I stand by my words! There all sorts of criminals at accident scenes. Delicious, buttery, criminals."

Lol, that is hilarious. Funniest thing i've read in weeks:p

Mannlicher
March 2, 2008, 06:04 PM
I see no reason at all to remove your weapon in the scene you described.

stephen426
March 2, 2008, 06:23 PM
Just get one of the stainless slide Sigs and don't worry about rust. There are plenty of other things I would remove before jumping in a lake to save someone like my cell phone and my PDA.

ibfestus
March 2, 2008, 07:01 PM
You said other people had stopped and the occupants of the vehicles involved were already out of danger. They didn't need you unless you are a trained physician or EMT and probably not even then.

I generally have a problem with CCW. My experience has been that folks who are carrying concealed, often interject themselves into situations where they are not only unnecessary but also bothersome. In fact, I wonder why we, as gun owners, don't insist on open carry. If we have the RKBA why do we need to hide them?

Personally I do not have a CCW permit. I do, however, often strap my 1911A1 on my belt and go about my business. Granted, I don't go into government or post offices, airports, etc. openly carrying. I do, however, routinely go to the Grocery, Wal Mart, the gas station, and etc. openly bearing my pistol. Nobody questions me, but, I do not interject myself into situations where neither me, my family, nor my property are at risk. The bad guys can murder, rape, and rob. That is the victims problem and they either need to call the cops or take care of it themselves.

Tough? No, it is called minding your own business.

grymster2007
March 2, 2008, 07:46 PM
I live in CA and don't even think about carrying, but I'm confused about some of the comments suggesting it be left in the waist band knowing it may possibly be seen by others. It is my understanding that concealed means just that and allowing others to see your concealed weapon is a major legal transgression.

Am I wrong?... OK! OK! Am I wrong again?:)

MLeake
March 2, 2008, 08:43 PM
I have to disagree. I saw the water plume from the accident, although the accident itself was blocked from view by other traffic. Four other vehicles had stopped, so mine made five.

My 4x4 has a first aid kit and fire extinguisher. I have at least basic training and some hands on experience in first aid. CCW has nothing to do with that aspect of things.

Additionally, I only became aware that all occupants were out and safe when I ran up to where the cars were in the water, having parked three cars back. I probably got to the victims within one minute of them going off the road.

Now, had emergency personnel been present, or had other witnesses already taken the situation firmly in hand, that scenario might have been different.

armedandsafe
March 3, 2008, 12:02 AM
I stopped for a multi-vehicle wreck while about 30 miles South of Sacramento, and jumped in to lend a hand. Some time during the confusion of trying to get a truck driver out of his cab, somebody behind me started screaming, "He's got a gun!" I ignored it until I climbed down from the cab of that truck (that driver wasn't coming out) I turned to the lady who was screaming and said, "Yes, ma'am. I do have a gun." Then I left to check another car with people in it.

The lady shut up, nobody else got upset nor said anything about it. The fellow who was with the woman even came back to the rear of the scene and helped me put my bike back up on its wheels. A BMW R75/5, fully dressed and laden with 2 weeks of camping gear is not the lightest bike in the world.

If you are in a rescue situation, just act as if it is the norm for you to have a gun and that you are in charge. It usually works.

Pops

Jim March
March 3, 2008, 02:26 AM
Not all accidents are in fact accidents. People on motorcycles have been deliberately run off the road by road-ragers, psychos and/or robbers. My brother's car was totaled when his friend's ex-girlfriend's father ran him off the road with said friend on-board.

Worse yet in my opinion is predators who prey on actual accident victims.

Another example: people often travel with dogs. Post-accident, said doggy might be in an abnormally bad mood. You wouldn't want to learn of this while your bangthing was back in the car.

Add one more point.

In a real, serious emergency, a gun with enough oomph is a high-speed metal cutting device. Would I want to blow the hinge off a car door with 800ft/lbs 357 Doubletap or Buffalo Bore ammo? Good God no...but if said car was on fire and it was that or watch somebody burn, yeah, I'd definitely consider it. The four of them I carry could blow a lock to hell and gone - reach in the window and shoot from the inside, stepping well out of the barrel's direction and it's not a crazy idea.

For that matter, if you don't have a knife and a seatbelt needs cutting, even a 380 or 38Spl could do that.

Again: we're talkin' last-ditch do-it-or-somebody-croaks, plus watch your backstop.

stephen426
March 3, 2008, 11:47 AM
In a real, serious emergency, a gun with enough oomph is a high-speed metal cutting device. Would I want to blow the hinge off a car door with 800ft/lbs 357 Doubletap or Buffalo Bore ammo? Good God no...but if said car was on fire and it was that or watch somebody burn, yeah, I'd definitely consider it. The four of them I carry could blow a lock to hell and gone - reach in the window and shoot from the inside, stepping well out of the barrel's direction and it's not a crazy idea.

For that matter, if you don't have a knife and a seatbelt needs cutting, even a 380 or 38Spl could do that.

I do not believe that firing shots at metal objects such as door hinges is a good idea, especially if gas fumes are present. You might end up with ricochets or worse. Besides, you are seriously overestimating the power of your gun. I also don't understand how you plan to cut a seatbelt with bullets. Carry a friggin knife and leave the Hollywood stuff to the guys in Hollywood. :rolleyes:

First thing you need to do is assess the situation. Is the car really in danger of blowing up or is the car sinking. That determines whether or not the occupants should even be moved. Are the occupants badly injured and would moving them likely result in greater injuries? Is the door damaged to the point where it cannot open or is it just locked? If that door is damaged, is there another door that can be opened? Most car windows are large enough for a person to fit through and can be easily broken with the the back of a knife or with the butt of a gun if necessary. Seatbelts can almost always be disengaged just by hitting the release latch. If not, then you can cut the person loose.

The point is... if you have no idea what you are doing, leave it to someone who does. There is nothing wrong with being a good Samaritan, but get some training first. In appropriate action is often worse than inaction.

rampage841512
March 3, 2008, 06:41 PM
I probably would have left it in place.

Jim March
March 3, 2008, 07:29 PM
Stephen: we agree - DO NOT move somebody unless there's no other choice. I'm a biker of 20 years and with decent first aid training, although a bit dated :(. Still, I know that much.

That said, have you tried firing very high energy 357 at 1/4" mild steel, or seen pics of same? It would open your eyes as to what's possible - that's exactly the metal used in car door hinges. I've seen 1/2" holes with serious "splash" through both sides of a trailer hitch bar from 125gr full house loads.

B.N.Real
March 5, 2008, 08:47 PM
Jim March-"some accidents are not -in fact accidents."

How right you are.

About twenty five years ago,my dad,who was a horseracing fan that liked to go to Charlestown,West Virginia to bet began hearing reports of robbers who were doing just that,faking accidents and robbing the good samaritans that stopped to help them.

Well,low and behold about three weeks later,at around 2:00 in the morning,he's coming back from the races and he sees a guy laying in the middle of the road and somebody standing in the middle of the road trying to get my dad to stop.

The car did'nt look wrecked and there seemed to be no reason for the guy to be laying in the middle of the road.

My dad was a Korean war vet and that sense of danger clicked in when he remembered the story being told around the track.

He nailed the throttle on that old Pontiac Bonneville and drove right at the guy standing in the middle of the road,and then right at the guy laying in the middle of the road.

Mr.In the Middle of the Road is MIRACULOUSLY HEALED and jumps up and over the car they have parked at the side of the road.

Good Ole Pops,saved his bones and my moms too that morning and I was glad he did the right thing.

mac45
March 5, 2008, 09:46 PM
I probably wouldn't have even thought about taking it off. I don't have a way to secure it in my car, so I think it would be safer staying with me.
Indiana issues a "License to Carry", so flashing isn't an issue for me.

joe poteat
March 5, 2008, 10:33 PM
[The bad guys can murder, rape, and rob. That is the victims problem and they either need to call the cops or take care of it themselves.]
I guess i was brought up different and live by a different code. I was coast guard for 31 yrs. i did and still would risk my life for anyone that needed my help anywhere anytime.

NJ-Dirtrdr
March 6, 2008, 01:12 PM
Been in a somewhat similar situation, and did the same thing:

Heavy rains flooded a portion of a moderately trafficked side-street. Hapless drivers kept stalling out, and stranded themselves in the knee-waist deep water before the police shut the road down. I saw that there were some "older" drivers who were not in danger, but were definitely stranded.

I took off my H&K, as well as my leather holster and helped push out the cars along with some other young guys. I knew that I'd be bending over, and my thin t-shirt would quickly reveal my CCW in the heavy rain, and I also didn't want to ruin my nice holster.

Society is riddled with people who are afraid to "get involved" and the mentality that you're getting in the way is ludicrous, at least until competant authorities arrive and have the scene under control. You're a fine American for taking time out of your own day to help someone else.

BTW: I would not have changed my actions, but if any degree of haste was required I wouldn't have paused long enough to remove my rig. Besides, in those situations, people would likely think you're some kind of LEO because this society has brainwashed us into thinking those are the only people who are SUPPOSED to get involved when a quick response is needed.

blueleader
March 6, 2008, 01:33 PM
if was not stated what state you are in!

in MA i would leave the weapon in the truck (secured case)

if while helping people at the accident scene, it was discovered that you
were packing heat (carrying a Rosco) (walking the dog) you would have
lot of explaining to do. like trying to convince the police that you did not
cause the accident. with a weapon showing in MA you are the bad guy first
and a good Samaritan second.

Stevie-Ray
March 6, 2008, 08:14 PM
I probably would have left it in place.In fact I have on two different occasions. If anybody noticed, they said nothing.

pax
March 7, 2008, 09:51 AM
I live on a curve in a busy rural highway. At least four or five times a year, there's an accident out in front of my house -- and we are the only folks around for quite awhile, so it's my house people come to in order to use the phone.

This means that I regularly find myself on an accident scene while armed. Before heading out the door, I put in the phone call to the cops. Then, I grab my fanny pack and head out. The fanny pack always contains a flashlight, the cell phone, a spare magazine, a pair of nitrile gloves, and one small towel to stop blood flowing. (If I've retired for the night, my gun is in the pack; otherwise, it's on my hip.)

Never had a cop ask about my bag. They've always been grateful to see me there though, since response times here are usually upwards of 20 minutes and a lot can happen on an accident scene in that amount of time.

Hm. That reminds me it's probably time to renew the 1st aid card again.

pax

OuTcAsT
March 7, 2008, 10:31 AM
You said other people had stopped and the occupants of the vehicles involved were already out of danger. They didn't need you unless you are a trained physician or EMT and probably not even then.

I generally have a problem with CCW. My experience has been that folks who are carrying concealed, often interject themselves into situations where they are not only unnecessary but also bothersome. In fact, I wonder why we, as gun owners, don't insist on open carry. If we have the RKBA why do we need to hide them?

Personally I do not have a CCW permit. I do, however, often strap my 1911A1 on my belt and go about my business.

:eek: Wow.....just....Wow :eek:

MLeake
March 7, 2008, 02:55 PM
Hello, all.

First, I'm glad that most posters noted that my concern was about causing potential alarm amongst victims, bystanders, EMS and LEO, and not about whether I'd get my rig wet.

Additionally, had nobody at all yet stopped, I would not have taken the time to think about whether to remove and stow the holster.

Equipment is equipment. It gets damaged sometimes. Oh, well. And yes, I've had that attitude when people have nailed my car and my truck. Find out if everybody is ok first. No point getting upset. Car and truck repairs cost more than pistol and holster, so I'm pretty sure I could remain philosophical if my Sig or andrews holster took some water damage.

But back to civic responsibility. My parents were raised in different cities, and different cultures, to an extent. However, one thing they shared in common was that they each grew up in one house until they left for college. Their extended families all lived within a few miles of each other. They knew their neighbors. Perhaps this was sort of idyllic and Ozzie and Harriet, but that's how they were raised.

As a result, they were raised to look after their neighbors. When I was a kid, we lived on a street where most of the neighbors were elderly. My parents were the first people most of the older ones would look to for help with getting groceries, replacing windows, etc. They instilled those values in my sister and me.

I remember stopping along an interstate, with my dad, and changing an old lady's tire back when I was 15. That's just how my parents were, and still are to the extent that their older bodies now allow them to be, and that's how my sister and I were raised. My little sister shovels the driveway of her elderly neighbor in winter time. She's also an associate VP of a major university. Tough as nails, efficient as hell, but she'll give somebody in need the shirt off her back.

In addition to my family upbringing, I have been a naval officer since college, though I am now of the reserve variety. I am used to being both implicitly and explicitly responsible for the well-being of those around me. Any officer worth the title shares that outlook. All the armed services strive to instill this ethos.

Sorry for the soapbox, but I am really tired of posters who imply that possession of a CCW makes the holder think he is superhuman. (My naval aviator training is mostly responsible for that character defect, thanks...) There is NOTHING superhuman about wanting to look out for others. And CCW has nothing to do with whether I can look in the mirror and respect the man I see looking back.

Not stopping to render assistance at an obvious accident, on the other hand, would badly damage my sense of self. Without that, I'm not so worried about whether I get robbed, mugged, etc.

For the poster who thought I'd be in the way, well, he should study Kitty Genovese. As most forum members know, she was stabbed to death in NYC many years ago. Over 40 witnesses heard her screams, but none called the police. They all assumed that somebody else would take care of it.

This is, unfortunately, a fairly normal characteristic of group mindset. Individuals will respond to crises, while groups will often stand around waiting for a leader to give direction. Check the social psychology and anthro 101 texts, they'll provide plenty of examples and studies.

I've watched groups stand by while I swam out, by myself, to bring back a woman who had swum too far into an alligator infested lake and had started yelling for help. I've seen groups stand by while an elderly neighbor and I tried to determine where in a burning house another elderly neighbor was. Please note that when firefighters showed up (very promptly, excellent service), we got out of the way so as not to exacerbate the problem.

I wasn't raised to stand by and see if others would take care of it. I wasn't trained by the Navy to stand by and see if others would take care of it. It saddens me to see the number of people out there who apparently would.

grey sky
March 8, 2008, 06:20 AM
Well said

glennv
March 8, 2008, 08:33 AM
We have open carry so it doesn't really matter if anyone sees it but if having your weapon exposed is illegal so what. If someone is trapped in a situation where there is the possibility of death I won't be thinking about my CCW permit. What's the worst that can happen? They pull your permit. Not likely, but who cares anyway. Imagine someone you love drowns or burns to death because of the guy on the side of the road was worried about losing his permit.

My guess is that once any one of us realizes a life is in danger you won't even think of the gun.

joe poteat
March 8, 2008, 12:55 PM
mleake- when did you go to pcola. i was there feb67-dec67.

MLeake
March 8, 2008, 06:06 PM
In 67, I was just a gleam in the eye, Joe.... My uncle was with the Army in Viet Nam. Ironically, MP's came looking for him at my grandmother's house, since he hadn't reported when they tried to draft him. Her arguments that he couldn't report to them, since he was already over there as a BN ops O, fell on deaf or stupid ears, but that incident has amused my family for decades.

I went through training at Whiting in 90-91 timeframe.

Cheers.

MLeake
March 8, 2008, 06:19 PM
I agree with you that if I had, at that point, thought lives were in danger, I would not have worried about flashing the gun. By the time I had exited the vehicle, though, three other witnesses had reached the crashed car and SUV. At that point, I felt the best service I could offer was offering a steady update on 911 on my cell, which I had dialed almost immediately after seeing the plume of water from the car impacting the pond. By the same token, I wanted to be immediately available in case muscle or basic first aid assistance were still needed, and in case the first samaritans on scene were not up to the task.

This is the only reason I had time to think about the weapon. And I wasn't worried about my permit. I was worried about causing alarm, because if I had needed to do anything physical, my overshirt would probably have come off the pistol. Call me naive, but I can't imagine a LEO or DA hassling me over letting my weapon be seen in those circumstances. Unfortunately, in a university town, I can easily imagine people going saucer eyed over a pistol.

Final note: Since I had not actually seen the accident itself, as it was obscured by traffic between the accident and me, I could not provide a useful witness statement about cause of the crash. So, when the first deputy arrived, I met her and led her to where the victims had gathered up, and then took my leave.

Note to Joe Poteat: Last time I had to stop at an accident site, the most effective samaritan responder was a Coastie. Injured kids. Luckily, nothing too major, but some nasty road rash. Explorer SportTrac rollover, and of course no seat belts... Family involved spoke only spanish. Thankfully, so did the Coastie, because he was the only one who could calm the more badly injured boy. Father was pacing around in shock, mother was crying her eyes out...

Funny thing about situations like that. You handle them at the time. You get the shakes a while later. Sometimes, you might even find yourself crying.

revance
March 12, 2008, 10:54 AM
You said other people had stopped and the occupants of the vehicles involved were already out of danger. They didn't need you unless you are a trained physician or EMT and probably not even then.

I generally have a problem with CCW. My experience has been that folks who are carrying concealed, often interject themselves into situations where they are not only unnecessary but also bothersome.

I find this comment disgusting.

If emergency units are present, I agree you should stay out of the way, but when there are no flashing lights, people need to help others. Just because a couple people stopped doesn't mean they don't still need help (those who stopped could be 90yo and unable to do anything).

A couple months ago a woman drove her van into a pond not far from my house... her and her 3 daughters all died. It sickens me to know some people would keep driving and let them "call the cops or take care of it themselves."

I suggest anyone who feels this way check out the news article and look at the pictures of the little girls. They died in ~6' of water.
http://www.theindychannel.com/news/14865444/detail.html