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June 21st, 2010 at 08:57am

Police press releases are usually written in strange and peculiar ways so as to not influence court proceedings; I accept and respect this, but I can’t stand it when they enter the realm of the indecipherable. Yesterday the NSW Police Media Unit produced a perfect example.

Teenager critically injured after falling from moving car – Broken Hill
Sunday, 20 Jun 2010 03:44pm

A man has been critically injured after falling from a moving vehicle in the state’s far west.

Two male youths were consuming alcohol at a party in Duff Street, Broken Hill, with a number of other people overnight.

About 2.30am today, a 17-year-old male youth left the party in a green Daewoo sedan.

Witnesses have told police they saw a second 17-year-old male youth travelling on the back section of the vehicle.

A short time later, the teenager fell from the vehicle onto the bitumen roadway.

The teenager suffered critical head injuries and was taken by NSW Ambulance Paramedics to Broken Hill Base Hospital for emergency treatment.

He has since been transferred to The Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The driver of the vehicle – who failed to stop at the scene – was arrested at a residence in Ryan Lane, Broken Hill, and taken to the local hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.

No charges have been laid at this stage and investigations are continuing.

Anyone who witnessed the incident and hasn’t already spoken with police is urged to contact Broken Hill Police Station via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Right…did you get that? You can re-read it if you like, but I doubt it will help. I tried that and was left with even more questions. Let’s take it from the top.

Teenager critically injured after falling from moving car – Broken Hill
Sunday, 20 Jun 2010 03:44pm

A man has been critically injured after falling from a moving vehicle in the state’s far west.

A man? The title said “teenager”. The two aren’t mutually exclusive as two of the teenage years do coincide with adulthood, but still it is odd for the police to refer to adults as teenagers.

Two male youths were consuming alcohol at a party in Duff Street, Broken Hill, with a number of other people overnight.

Convoluted…how about “people consumed alcohol at a party in Duff Street, Broken Hill overnight” instead? As it happens, this line does lead to something, but it’s still a very strange line.

About 2.30am today, a 17-year-old male youth left the party in a green Daewoo sedan.

Witnesses have told police they saw a second 17-year-old male youth travelling on the back section of the vehicle.

OK, let’s call the first 17-year-old male “Male #1” and the other one “Male #2”. I immediately have to ask how Male #1 left in the Daewoo, as the driver or as a passenger? Normally the police will indicate if a given person was driving when they mention them in relation to a car.

A short time later, the teenager fell from the vehicle onto the bitumen roadway.

That would be Male #2, or so I’m inclined to assume.

The teenager suffered critical head injuries and was taken by NSW Ambulance Paramedics to Broken Hill Base Hospital for emergency treatment.

He has since been transferred to The Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The driver of the vehicle – who failed to stop at the scene – was arrested at a residence in Ryan Lane, Broken Hill, and taken to the local hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.

“The driver”? But we haven’t established who, if anyone, from the rest of the story was driving (or alleged to have been driving, as the case may be).

No charges have been laid at this stage and investigations are continuing.

I suspect that this is the cause of the incomprehensible nature of the press release. The police haven’t charged anyone with anything and therefore can’t allege that anyone did anything in particular.

All that the press release really tells us is that two youths, possibly Male #1 and Male #2, were drinking at a party. Male #1 left in a car that he may or may not have been driving. Male #2 was on the back of the car, fell off and received injuries. A man, as opposed to a youth, may also have fallen from the back of a car and received injuries, but we really don’t know much about that.

By inference we can conclude that the arrested person, whom we know was driving the car from which Male #2 fell, probably passed their blood and urine tests as they would have otherwise been charged with drink-driving. It’s interesting that the police don’t make mention of this though. Surely they could say that the test was positive, negative or that the result had not arrived.

The real question for me though is why Police Media would produce a press release as ridiculous as this…a press release which is going to have the media interpreting it and drawing their own conclusions (the most likely one being that Male #1 is the driver…something which the police were careful to avoid saying) when they could have simply said, in a handful more words, that “a 17-year-old male fell from the back of a Daewoo sustaining head injuries, said male is in hospital, police request witnesses to call Crime Stoppers”? It would have made a lot more sense, avoided any potential legal problems, and said everything that it needed to say.

My theory is that they drafted it on the assumption that they would charge the driver with something…then didn’t charge the driver, and made a few quick alterations to the draft which removed problematic references but left a thoroughly perplexing story. Why the media unit then went ahead and released it is beyond me…but then again, so is the question of why I’ve dedicated almost 1000 words of a blog post to deciphering this nonsense.

These are the mysteries which keep me awake in the morning when I should be getting some sleep in preparation for a night shift.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Bizarreness

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