“Hey Petey, do you mind if I borrow your car? My friend asked me to help him move, and your pick up would work much better than my Fiat,” Hank asked as he poked his head into Pete’s living room. “Alright, but make sure you clean it up. That car means more to me than you do,” he chortled. “Will do,” Hank replied as he took the keys off the hook and left, closing the door behind him. It was Friday night, 6 PM. Exhausted from his work as a painter, Pete removed his blue uniform and matching hat, turned on his favorite show, and settled into his loveseat with a bowl of popcorn under his arm. After an hour of food network, he began to slip into a deep sleep. He awoke a little before midnight. Before bed, he walked over to his window to see whether Hank had returned his car. He could make out the shadow of the pick up under the moonlight. He checked the key rack, but saw that the keys were not there. “He must have left them in the pick up, I’ll get them tomorrow,” he told himself.
The next morning, he was awaken by the sound of violent knocks on his front door. “Police, open up!” Both drowsy and terrified, Pete stumbled toward the door, throwing it open. “Can I help you officers?” He asked, rubbing his eyes. Two towering policemen stood at his door, arms crossed. “Sir, are you aware that Minnesota law requires the driver involved in a collision to stop the vehicle, especially when a pedestrian sustains injuries?” Pete’s mouth fell open. “This must be some type of mistake. I was home last night.” The other policeman uncrossed his arms and sighed, “Pete, we have surveillance showing your car running a red light and hitting a pedestrian at a crossing.” “My neighbor, Hank! He took my car last night,” Pete explained, his voice shaking. “Pete, what do you do for work?” “I am a painter,” Pete replied, his brow furrowing. “I’d like you to take a look at these pictures,” the officer said, handing him a photo. It was a picture from a red light camera. It was Pete’s red truck all right, and then, Pete’s heart dropped when he saw the driver. The driver had on Pete’s uniform, the hat was pulled far over the driver’s eyes so the face could not be seen. Pete became hysterical and started screaming,“I am being framed.” The police officers rolled their eyes, “we have a warrant for your arrest.” And with that, Pete was taken away.
The first call Pete made from jail was to his lawyer. He explained the situation, telling him that he was framed by his neighbor, Hank. Once his attorney arrived at the jail, she explained to him the severity of the situation. “Is the pedestrian okay? What even happened? I didn’t do this!” Pete sobbed with his head in his hands. His lawyer, Ms. Smith, pursed her lips. “The woman who was injured in the hit and run died this morning,” she explained. “She’s dead?! Oh no, and they think I did this?!” Pete’s cries grew louder. “Unfortunately,” Ms. Smith continued, “if a person involved in an accident dies, and fail to stop, you could face felony charges. If you are found guilty, you can face imprisonment of up to three years, a fine of $5,000, or both.” Pete urged his attorney to believe that he was framed, that his neighbor must have planned to take his car and frame him. Ms. Smith said she would look into it and let him know what she could find.
A few days later, Ms. Smith returned to speak with her client. “Please tell me law enforcement is looking into Hank,” he begged. Ms. Smith pursed her lips. “Pete, there is no record of anyone living next door to you. The landlord said that the place has been empty for months while he’s been looking for a new tenant.” Pete was in disbelief. He had seen the man enter and leave the unit next door. Had he been breaking in? Did he pretend to be Pete’s neighbor in order to get close to him? Did he intent to frame him for the recklace murder of a pedestrian? His mind raced. Ms. Smith reached for Pete’s hand.
“I believe you, Pete. As your lawyer, I will not give up on you.We are going to fight this thing.”
Author: Alexandra Baczynski