A DWI Police Report

On April 28, State Rep. Rene Oliveira of Brownsville, Texas was charged with drunk driving after he left the scene of a car crash. You can read more at this link: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/police-reveal-dwi-report-documents-detail-officers-encounter-with-oliveira/article_342efd2e-52d5-11e8-ae60-13c4d28fa39c.html

The news story includes several excerpts from the police report (reproduced below in green). You’ll see that this is sophisticated writing – factual, objective, and professional. But it could be intimidating to an officer who isn’t used to packing so much information into each sentence.

My suggestion would be to write short, crisp sentences that focus on only one fact. If there’s a series of facts, I recommend a timesaving list. I’ve put my suggested rewrites in blue.

1.  She [the driver of the other car] stated that she observed the defendant stumble out of his vehicle and approach her. She stated that after checking if she was okay, he told her that he would take care of everything, and for her to contact his insurance, giving her his business card with only his name and business address.

She [the driver of the other car] told me that the defendant did the following:

  • stumbled out of his vehicle and approached her
  • checked to see if she was okay
  • told her that he would take care of everything
  • told her to contact his insurance
  • gave her his business card with only his name and business address.

2.  I asked the defendant if he could describe the circumstances under which the accident took place, to which he stated that he was driving did not see the cars stopped in front of him causing him to strike one.

The defendant told me that he struck a car because he didn’t see the cars stopped in front of him, causing him to strike one.

3. She [the driver of the other car] stated that the vehicle did not appear to be slowing down and that she was expecting to be struck.

She [the driver of the other car] stated that the vehicle did not appear to be slowing down. She expected to be struck.

4.  I asked the defendant if he could recall how the Cadillac had been damaged on both the right side wheels and tires, to which he stated that he could not recall.

The defendant told me he couldn’t recall how the Cadillac had been damaged on both the right side wheels and tires.

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