Authorities in Pottawattamie County want to talk with the person that made an apparent false report over the C-B radio Wednesday that caused a flurry of law enforcement officers to converge on Interstate 80 near Walnut.Atlantic Police Lieutenant Steve Green says someone on a C-B radio reported a black male waving a gun was riding between the cab of a semi-tractor and its trailer traveling on I-80, north of Walnut.
The report around 12:30 was relayed by a trucker with a cell phone to 9-1-1. Green says it soon became obvious the report was false. Green says he became suspicious when the report said the man jumped off the truck and got into a gunfight, as he says you don’t jump off a truck at 60 miles an hour and survive to have a gunfight. When authorities stopped the rig, the driver said he knew nothing of the incident and there was no evidence anyone had been riding on the chassis.
Green says if it were simply a matter of a cell phone caller with a false report, they could get to the bottom of the situation and charge the caller with a serious misdemeanor if there are no injuries involved. In situations where information is relayed by CB, it’s more difficult to track down the truth and the perpetrator of the rumor. Green says he doubts if they’ll be able to track anyone down.
Greene says whoever made the call was probably just having fun and didn’t realize there were nearly 50 law enforcement officers from all over the area risking their necks to race to the scene and offer assistance. He says a false report endangers the public and the officers. He says State Troopers are especially at risk because they sometimes have to travel 40 miles at speeds of 120-to 140-miles per hour to get to an accident or crime, they’re in danger of a blow-out or collision with another motorist.
Greene cautions against making false reports to law enforcement such as the one that occurred yesterday, for that reason alone, and because it is a crime.