Wednesday I was interviewed by a detective investigating the road rage incident I witnessed late last year. She called me a couple of days ago and offered to meet me whereever, but since I was coming to Bellevue anyway I suggested this morning.
It was an interesting experience. There was the 2x3 grid of photos to pick someone out of; they seemed to be driver's license photos blown up a bit. I could not honestly pick one out, which bothered me until I realized that I had not actually seen the guy's full face; he'd never looked in my direction so although I had the sensation of seeing him, I had actually seen only one half of his face, more or less.
Next I drew the positions of the cars on a little map. Then the detective turned on her recorder and asked me what I saw. It was a good experience, describing exactly what I saw and occasionally having to saw that I didn't see something - it is tempting always to know everything, but that's not the purpose of the interview and it was o.k. not to know.
After the interview was over and everything shut off, I was asked if I had any questions. I wondered if there was corroboration of the driver's story - I had not seen anyone striking anyone, but that's not to say it didn't happen; I wasn't there for the first part. The detective said that this was like a puzzle; she assembled various pieces to get the whole picture. I didn't have the first part of what happened, but I supplied the last part, especially the license plate - my reading the license plate to the 911 operator helped locate the vehicle quickly. There were other witnesses - some of whom I had seen - who saw the first part of the thing, and so the picture was assembled.
We discussed the fact that often witnesses aren't perfect, and I observed that that might be a good sign, that we are not accustomed to seeing a crime in front of us. If we were used to it, that would be a bad sign!