A Central Michigan University student found a CMU police officer focused on a game of Solitaire Monday night after he said a car sped through a stop sign on campus and nearly hit him.
Flushing freshman Austin Boulter, the student alleging the incident, decided to take photographs of the officer taking a break and posted them on Facebook, where the photo was shared more than 650 times.
“I’m glad something is happening about it; I only expected a few likes or funny comments,” Boulter said. “If it went somewhere, I was OK with it, but I wasn’t expecting (that many) shares of it.”
Boulter says the near-incident happened at around 7:45 or 8 p.m. Monday in Lot 16 on Hopkins Street, near the Robinson residential hall, Boulter said.
“I was walking across the street, and the car’s wheels were squealing, and it blew through the stop sign,” Boulter recalled. “I saw a cop across the street and wondered if it was empty or made to look like there was a cop.”
Boulter said when he walked up to the car, the officer was playing the game on a computer, which appeared to be connected to the vehicle.
CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley said he first heard about the incident through an e-mail Tuesday morning.
“We are trying to verify what car it was, when and who was in it, as well as to interview that officer,” Yeagley said. “The bottom line is as soon as we were aware of that, we began to check into it to see what information we could find out.”
CMU police contacted Boulter about the incident after it was discovered, Yeagley said. The pictures Boulter took weren’t great quality and said to be too difficult to identify the officer.
“I’m very confident that we will be able to identify what officer was involved,” Yeagley said. “The student was one of the first people we contacted and interviewed on what happened and what they had observed.”
Boulter said he was surprised by how fast the police responded after he had posted the image and the post that described the night. Lt. Larry Klaus visited his residence hall and told him there would be definite repercussions for the officer involved, he said.
“Actually, they responded pretty fast. A lieutenant came to my dorm at noon asking about it,” Boulter said. “The officer said he was not happy to see this kind of thing or how he found out this way, but that he was glad it was brought to his attention.”
Yeagley would not confirm what the possible actions would entail.
When Boulter was walking back from class nearly five hours later, he said he noticed a cop car sitting in the same spot with an officer still on the computer; however, he was not sure if it was the same officer.
“There have been different debates on CMU safety, and seeing this, I thought maybe some people should know about it,” Boulter said. “I’m glad the awareness was spread about it.”