Climbing behind the wheel of his old and dented ghost car, with a strangely crooked antenna, made Const. Dave Buchanan smile on Wednesday.
“The antenna’s a little bit bent, like the car. It’s old and bent,” said Buchanan, a member of the RCMP’s Integrated Road Safety Unit based out of Parksville.
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The car tugs on Buchanan’s heartstrings, since it’s what he started out driving as a young officer on Vancouver Island. Now he and the old Crown Vic have joined forces once more.
“It’s a 2009 Crown Victoria. It’s past retirement age, just like me,” said Buchanan, smiling.
The “Blue Beater” as the car’s been nick-named, was unwanted by anyone else since it’s in rough shape and there’s little comfort in the cab.
“There’s a black tube. That’s for air conditioning, because there’s hardly any air conditioning so I would stick it in my vest in the summer,” said Buchanan.
The veteran RCMP officer believes it the last of its kind on Vancouver Island.
“The ‘grandma of the fleet’ and one day she’ll get the sendoff she deserves and I’m driving Miss Daisy,” he said.
But pulled back into service to patrol the Island Highway between Chemainus and Parksville, this ‘grandma’ and her driver are catching drivers by surprise, left and right. As cars and trucks fly down the highway, some at dangerously high speeds.
“We’re catching these people who are grossly going over. In the high-hundreds, 170, 180 [kilometres an hour],” said Buchanan.
Tow truck driver Grant Clayton said he admires the crafty thinking.
“They’re trying to keep a lid on what’s going on, on the highway. Keeps people on their toes, and if they’re not on their toes they shouldn’t be on the road,”said the Central Towing employee, who has been a tow truck driver for nine years.
The greying ghost car often surprising people that it could belong to police at all.
“And they say ‘where did you come from’ and I’ll say ‘I was right behind you, you passed me.’ It is that old,” said Buchanan.
As the hard working duo prove looks aren’t always what they seem, and that if you’re out there driving dangerously ‘grandma’ really will catch up with you.