Welcome to Davis Media, the Publisher of Record for documents and books
authored by Steve Davis.
The following are the first Chapters of the fiction
mystery novella entitled
'Snap Judgement'
(A 'novella' is a short novel, usually around 20,000 words plus)

"Snap Judgement"  is the first book in a Series entitled the "CHP Officer "CD" Dixon Series".  Additional books in the series will be published in the future. 

'Snap Judgement'

Copyright © 2013 - Steve Davis
All Rights Reserved. 


"Snap Judgement”  is a work of fiction set against actual and fictitious locations which are intended to be represented as historically accurate as possible.  Names, characters, business locations and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead, business establishments, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter 1 – The Accident

Rick Brewster downshifted and grimaced as he overtook the dark green Audi in front of him.  “Son of a ….”  The words tailed off as he rapidly slowed to 52 miles per hour, matching the speed of the Audi.  “Just our luck.  The Bransons are waiting for us and we get behind this jerk”.  He glanced at his watch and grimaced, “6:40.  We were supposed to be there already”

“Take it easy, honey”, his wife said.  “The guy is going the speed limit.  It’s not his fault you got home forty minutes late and now you are trying to make up for it.  Ron and Cherie will understand.  You were driving too fast anyhow.”

“What do you mean?  First of all, he’s not going the speed limit, he’s going 52, not 55, and I always drive this fast on Bottle Rock.  I know it like the back of my hand”.  Peering through the rear window of the Audi against the reflection of the setting sun, he tried to make out the driver.  “Who is it?  Some old fart?  Or a woman driver on a cell phone?”

Amy Brewster rolled her eyes and silently gestured at the road with her left hand for emphasis.  Bottle Rock Road was a winding mountain road, one lane in each direction, with many curves warning speeds of as low as 25 mph.  In this vicinity, not far from the community of Cobb, there was a growing population of homes along or near the highway and migrating deer and an occasional pedestrian or bicyclist always dictated an extra measure of caution before the long straight stretch that extended just beyond the next curve.  “Some day.  I just hope it never catches up to you.”

Rick inched up toward the rear of the Audi, even as it entered the tight curve against the side of the mountain.  Embankments converged along both sides at this spot, but still he inched closer, anticipating the opportunity to pass on the upcoming straightaway. 

“With these curves and no shoulders…”  Amy started again, but her sentence was interrupted as the Audi suddenly slammed on its brakes and swerved to the left ahead of them.  “Jeezus,” Rick yelled as stabbed at the brake and jerked the wheel to the left.  Through the thick tire smoke, Rick could see the Audi strike something in the road, and even the noise of the screeching tires could not hide the dull thud of the impact.

Rick skidded sideways as he barely missed the rear of the stopped Audi, skidding to a stop at an angle across the opposing lane, facing the shoulder.

“I never saw that deer until he hit it.” Rick said, his voice still shaking.  He turned on the emergency flashers and got out.  The pungent smell of burning rubber was still hanging in the air as he approached the back of the Audi.  To his amazement, the driver put the car in reverse and accelerated backwards, sending Rick scrambling out of the way, then, just before striking Rick’s car, he stopped, shifted into Drive again, and accelerated around the body and took off down the highway.

Rick stared in amazement that the driver of the Audi would hit an animal that big and just drive off without looking at the damage to his car.  He took a good look at the back of the disappearing car, and yelled to Amy, “Write down his plate number, 2-M-N-O-3-0-6”.  When he looked back at her face through the window, she was staring in stark fear at the roadway in front of their car.  He looked at the object of her attention, and gasped. 

“Oh my God.”  There on the roadway in front of him was the mangled body of a woman.  Blood covered her turquoise blouse and jeans, and there was a small puddle of blood near the badly broken body.  He saw no visible signs of life, and he shuddered at the thought that he was standing over a dead person.   “Amy, get out here.  You’re a nurse, see if she is alive and you can help her.  Amy!”

Amy got out of the car and reluctantly approached the crumpled body, bending over to check for any visible sign of life. 

At that moment, Rick noticed another car approaching from the opposite direction.  Since his car was still in that lane, he ran toward the approaching car to flag it down for help.  As the big SUV approached, it slowed some distance away, and then drove toward him at normal speed.  Then, as it approached his location, the SUV driver started going faster, instead of slower.  He was coming perilously closer, so Rick again had to jump out of the way and yelled, ”Look out Amy!”  Just as the SUV was practically on top of them, the driver slammed on the brakes, swerved to his right, skidded off the roadway, and struck the embankment, severely crumpling the right front of his car. 

“Geez.  Is everyone crazy tonight?” Rick said aloud as he walked toward the SUV to check on the driver, thinking he must surely be drunk.  The driver leaped out of the vehicle and brushed past Rick toward the mortally injured female, “No.  No.  Shelly, this can’t be happening.”  Pushing Amy aside, he grabbed the still body of the woman and, holding her lifeless body close to him, he cried, “Shelly, please don’t die.  I love you.  Please!  Don’t die, Baby.”    

Shocked at what was taking place, Amy retreated to the car and called 911 on her cell phone.

Rick walked over to the man, but before he could speak, the man took a wild swing at him and said, “When this is over I’m going to hunt you down and kill you, you bastard.”

“No, no, you’ve got it all wrong.  I didn’t hit her, I just saw it.  But I got a good look at the man who did, and I got his license plate.  He won’t get away with it.  The CHP will find him, I’m sure.”

The man looked blankly at Rick for several seconds, and then turned his attention back to the woman in his arms.  Rick walked over to Amy, standing by the car, and said, “I think it must be his wife.  He thought I did it.  Oh, My God.  I wish the Chippies would get here quick.  I don’t know what else to do.”  He and Amy hugged each other as they waited.

“2MNO306, he said softly, “I’ll never forget it.”



Chapter 2 –The Accident Scene

It seemed an eternity until help arrived, first in the form of the paramedics from the South County Fire and Rescue, who responded from Cobb, to the east, and then CHP Officer Corbin “CD” Dixon, who arrived from Kelseyville a short time later.  Alert Fire and Rescue personnel had already blocked the entire roadway, one half mile east and west of the scene, so CD wouldn’t have to worry about strange vehicles running through the scene. 

As he pulled up to the scene, the CHP Dispatcher had already ran the license number and began to broadcast the information for other officers to be on the lookout for it,.  “7-22 and all units responding to Bottle Rock, hit and run vehicle involved in the probable fatal accident is a 1998 Audi, dark green in color, license plate number 2MNO306.  Should have pedestrian-type damage to the right or middle front.  Vehicle is registered to Vincent Guzman at an address of 11874 Geyser View in Cobb.”

CD wrote the info down before he got out.  On the radio, he heard that the only other CHP unit in the south county, Officer Ron Waring, was responding to the house address on the registration to try to intercept the driver if he were headed home. 

CD knew he was going to be alone on this one, and he quickly turned his attention to the victim, who was being treated by the paramedics.   The husband stood against the side of his SUV, just out of earshot, with his head in his hands.

The victim appeared to be in her early thirties, once a pretty blonde, but now an unsightly mangled body.  Her turquoise blouse and dark blue designer jeans were now covered with blood, more on the jeans than the blouse, and road debris, and her bloodied face couldn’t hide that she had previously been nicely groomed, makeup in place and she still wore the last remaining strands of a pearl necklace which were now scattered around the body.  He noted the fresh tire marks on her clothing, and quickly began to photograph the scene as he had found it. 

Paramedic Chucky Thomas had just completed his assessment of the victim and sat back on his heels and pulled the stethoscope off his ears.  CD leaned over and smelled for the odor of alcohol that usually accompanies auto-pedestrian accidents where the victim is in the middle of the road for no reason.  He detected none, and asked the paramedic, “11-44?”

“Yes, CD,” the paramedic said, “She’s dead.  No vitals whatsoever.” he said in a whisper.

CD leaned over and spoke softly to the paramedic, “OK, Chucky, but I need you to transport her to the hospital, anyhow.  That fellow over there is the husband, and he’ll go crazy if you don’t go through the motions.  He needs to get out of here, too.  Let him ride with you in the ambulance.”

“CD, you know the coroner’s rules,” he said in a voice that could only be heard by the Officer.  “She’s very dead.  You know we can’t transport a victim if they are obviously deceased.”

“Yeah, I know.  But who pronounced her dead?  Did you, Chucky?  Wait, I think I just saw her move.  Are you sure?  I’ll need the correct spelling of your name for the report, and the time you pronounced her dead, and what you deemed to be the exact cause of death, in case some sleazy attorney wants to sue us later.”

“You asshole.  I knew you’d pull that shit again.  OK, we’ll transport her,” he whispered.  “But you owe me, CD.  And he follows us, not rides with us.”

“Uh, sorry, that’s not going to work, Chucky.  His car isn’t drivable and I’ll be here for another couple hours investigating the scene.”

“Damn you, CD.  I’ll get even for this one.”  Then turning to the other paramedic, he said, “Okay, Ron, let’s get her to the hospital.”  The other paramedic looked at him, puzzled at the decision, then looked at CD as if to say, “Again?”  CD nodded to acknowledge it would mean buying donuts for the whole shift later.”

CD approached the husband, who was inspecting the damage to the right front of his SUV.  The husband saw him coming and quickly walked to meet him in the roadway.

“Please.  Is she going to be okay?  Why is it taking so long to take her to the hospital?”

“Sir, the paramedics are doing all they can for your wife.  She’s badly injured.  They have to get her ready to transport to the hospital.  But they are going to get her to the hospital as soon as possible.  You look familiar.  Have we met somewhere before?”

“Perhaps.  I’m a local Defense Attorney.  My name is Jack Travers, President of the Lake County Trial Lawyers Association.  Perhaps we’ve shared a mutual client at one time, if you know what I mean.”

“Hmmm,” said CD.  “For my report, what is your wife’s name?”

“Shelly Travers.”

“Her birth date?”

“June 28th, 1980.”

CD obtained the other needed information for the report, then asked, “How’s your car?  What happened?”

“I guess I skidded into the embankment when I saw my wife.  I just looked at it.  It is pretty mangled against the wheel.  I don’t think it is drivable.”

“I agree.  I’ll call you a tow truck.”  The last thing CD wanted to do was to have to complete a second minor damage accident report for the damage to the car from the embankment, but rules are rules, so he had to ask, “Do you want me to fill out an accident report for your car?”

“No, Officer, I’ll just take care of it with my insurance company.  Can you call Ayala Brothers Towing for the car?  They owe me a favor.”

“I’m sure they do,” Casey thought.  He had dealt with the Ayala brothers several years earlier when the CHP arrested them for running a stolen vehicle chop shop.  Their attorney, it might even have been Travers himself, he couldn’t remember, had managed to get charges dropped against the brothers when a cousin, a seventeen-year-old California Youth Authority parolee, took the rap for the entire operation and spent a couple years in a CYA Correctional Facility, whereas the Ayala Brothers, with their extensive rap sheets, if they had been convicted, would have gone up the river for ten or fifteen years.

“I need to get to the hospital to be with my wife, if that’s okay.”

“Sure.”  CD was relieved that he didn’t have to do the extra report.  “I’ve arranged for you to ride with the paramedics to the hospital.  You’ve got to control yourself, and stay out of their way en-route to Redbud Hospital.  I’ll be there in an hour or so, OK?”

“All right, Officer.  I promise not to interfere.”

After the ambulance left the scene, he returned his attention to the crime scene and the witnesses.

“Thanks for standing by, folks, now please tell me everything you know about the accident.” 

CD took notes as Rick and Amy Brewster went over the events which had transpired. 

“Could you see the lady before the impact; through the other car’s window or over it?  Was she walking in the road?”

“No.  We were just talking about that.  It was weird to us too.  We were focused on the Audi, and she didn’t step into the road from the side or I’m sure we’d have seen her.  She had to be in the middle of the road already, like she was walking in the road, but I couldn’t see her through the Audi’s windows, and I think I should have.  It was like she just appeared there.  Like she just popped up from nowhere.”

“Did you see her fly up in the air?  Did she go up onto the hood… maybe hit the windshield?”

“No, I’m sure she didn’t go up like that.  He just hit her and she fell.  I’ll never forget the sound of that ‘thud’.”

“You’re sure she didn’t fly up in the air?  I’ve never seen an adult auto-ped accident where the body didn’t go up over the hood.  Especially since she looks to be fairly tall, about 5’7” or so.  She took a pretty hard hit.”

“No, she definitely didn’t go up on the hood.  I’m sure of it,” Amy said. “He didn’t knock her very far, either.”