If Officer Hadn't Been Driving with Windows Down, He May Never Have Heard Woman's Screams


Your daily routine doesn’t usually seem to matter that much, does it? I mean, who cares about the way in which you part your hair or your technique for brushing your teeth or the route you take to work?

All that matters is that those things get done. The method in which you accomplish them is largely unimportant.

Well, that may be true most of the time. But for one Delaware County police officer, the unique way in which he conducted his patrol made a real difference in one woman’s life.

Lower Chichester Police Officer Tim McBride was like a lot of good cops in that he knew his patrol route and stuck to it. But he did something different from other officers.

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WTXF reported that when at all possible, he drove with the windows of his cruiser open. That might seem to be a recipe for little more than mussed hair.

Yet on Oct. 4, McBride was pulling away from a parking lot when he heard something: a scream. If not for that stray snatch of sound, he would never have known about the awful situation that was unfolding.

Those shrieks had come from a woman was being assaulted by a man named Richard Simmons. According to the Delaware County Daily Times, Simmons wasn’t what you’d call a Boy Scout.

Police had already suspected him in regards to a robbery that had occurred on Oct. 2 in Linwood, New Jersey. He’d simply hopped on a train and escaped to Delaware.

But he didn’t stay off of their radar for long. The victim, a fiftysomething who was manning the counter, told authorities that Simmons had come into the business several times, lingering only when he saw that she was ready to lock up.

Simmons then tried to stop her from leaving, and when she tried to rush around him, he threw her on the floor and jumped on top of her. “You aren’t going anywhere,” he reportedly said.

That was when the woman began screaming — and when McBride heard her cries. He entered the business and saw the assault in progress.

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“I drew my weapon and ordered the defendant to get up off the victim,” he said in an affidavit. Simmons refused and only got up as the officer swapped his gun for a Taser.

The affidavit further said that Simmons “continued to walk toward this officer. I deployed my Taser, which was effective, and he fell to the floor.”

Even after the assailant had voltage poured through his body, he continued to struggle as McBride and a backup officer tried to handcuff him. One shudders to think what he might’ve done to the victim if her screams had gone unnoticed.

Police Chief Thomas Gaspari called McBride’s intervention “one of the best pieces of police work that I have seen as the chief of police,” according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

“McBride’s actions averted serious injury if not possibly unspeakable crimes that may have taken place,” Gaspari said. “McBride’s determination to locate the victim in need was second to none, and I highly commend him for single-handedly stopping the dangerous intended crime.”

Indeed, thanks to him, there’s a woman saved and a criminal no longer out on the streets.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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