Deputy Doug, better known as the dummy police officer that sits in his decoy squad car in Somers waiting to scare the daylights out of speeding motorists oblivious to his never-changing outpost, was forced to retire his trusty Crown Victoria after a driver totaled the parked vehicle early Monday morning.
Shannon Farmer, owner of Speed Farm Automotive and the lot where the car was parked, said his security cameras caught the incident on tape. A firsthand account of the night was provided by Farmer on the local legend’s Facebook page, “Deputy Doug Somers.”
Around 5 a.m. the page reported Doug had a “rough morning” after a vehicle ran into his parked police car at approximately 2:30 a.m. Monday.
“Sitting with the park lights on and still got whacked,” the faux deputy relayed in a post that shows a video of a truck hitting the right side of the inanimate car before flipping into the air, narrowly missing a nearby coffee stand and parked truck.
“I don’t know how it happened, but the guy’s truck just gracefully flew through the air, missed my shop, missed my truck, missed the coffee shop and sign,” Farmer said. “He had to have been going at least 60 or 65 miles per hour, but no damage was done here.”
According to Farmer, who arrived at the scene around 4:30 a.m., the driver’s vehicle rolled and came to a rest on its roof “at least 100 feet” from the point of initial impact with the parked cop car.
Farmer said after reviewing his shop’s video footage he could see a male driver get out of the wrecked truck shortly after impact and walk away. A similar scene was detailed in the Flathead County 911 dispatch log in which a nearby neighbor reportedly “yelled from in the area, asking if he [the driver] was OK,” to which a man yelled back that he was. The caller reported the driver was bleeding and that he had left the scene, unsure of where he had gone.
Later in the morning, around 6 a.m., Farmer said he was in the parking lot when he noticed a vehicle traveling along U.S. 93 slow down to a suspicious speed and turn on its hazard lights as it passed the scene.
Farmer proceeded to get into his own truck and followed the vehicle, northbound on U.S. 93, where he witnessed a passenger climb into the vehicle from the side of the road just a little way past the parking lot. He then followed the vehicle to White Oak Super Stop, where it stopped.
Farmer said he approached the vehicle at the station and saw the passenger was “bleeding and in really bad shape” and he told them “to not try and go anywhere.” The police and an ambulance arrived shortly thereafter.
The Montana Highway Patrol said the driver was taken to the hospital and the incident is still under investigation.
As for Doug — not to be confused with his Lakeside counterpart, another dummy named Lucky — Farmer has given Deputy Doug a new vessel of justice and has returned him to his time-tested roost off U.S. 93.
Farmer said although the incident was a tragedy, the outcome likely would have been much worse for all parties involved, had Deputy Doug’s car not been there, sitting idle in the same position it has for nearly seven years.
“Doug took one for the team,” Farmer said. “That dude is sitting up there day-in and day-out with people throwing eggs at him, and people using BB guns to shoot him. It’s like the Wild West down there.”
But the faithful dummy deputy was back on duty less than 48 hours after the incident.
Doug now sits in his new car, which is parked next to his former banged up cruiser — an icon of the valley that has taken on a new purpose.
In the words of Doug himself, via his Facebook page, a “lil neck adjustment, a new whip, and [I’m] back in action. Left my ol’ P-71 beside me for protection and a reminder, don’t fall asleep at the wheel and don’t drink and drive.”
Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached 758-4407 or firstname.lastname@example.org