My ride in a police van

Very short ride. After dark so I couldn’t see any of the gadgets or dashboard.

Why the ride? I was out walking and heard from the woods a man’s voice calling “Help”, over and over. A pause, and then it would start up again. When I got to the place on the road where the voice was loudest and clearest, the man stopped calling.

I was close to my own house by then, and when I had tossed The Beast some kibble, I called 911. I mean, someone had been calling for help. Woods, swamp, dark.

And that’s how I got my ride in a police van, to show the officer where I last heard the voice.

I can’t figure out why the voice stopped so suddenly. It wasn’t getting weaker or hoarse. I didn’t hear any sounds akin to someone crashing through branches or undergrowth.

I told both the 911 officer and the van officer that I didn’t want to be wasting police time, but how could I hear that many calls for help and just ignore it?

So, Dopers, would you have called 911, or yelled back into the woods, or just have gone home for pie?

I would have done just as you did. It wasn’t a waste of time, it was a concerned citizen not ignoring a potential problem. The police advise people to do this all the time.

Yell back to the woods -determine nature of emergency, call 911 from the spot ( one damn good reason to have a cell phone)

Probably would have called 911 as well. But if I was that close and could beat the police, I probably would have told them about where I was and headed back in that direction with a bright flashlight. I’d stay on the road, but still try to see what I could see. If possible to do safely, I’d point my headlight into the woods.

I’m assuming the person stopped yelling because no one was responding to him. I’ll bet if you yelled out ‘Hello?’ he would have called back.
WAG, he was either lost ‘in the woods’ and didn’t realize how close to the road he was or he was hurt and couldn’t walk.

Weird. Let us know how this turns out.

Murdered/dieded? In all seriousness, you may want to check that area during daylight if you are able to. Calling back may have also been a good option, but too late for that now.
Once I woke up to sounds of a child screaming its bloody head off (it was an afternoon, I was taking a nap). Like top of the lungs, repeated, sustained screaming - I seriously thought some kid was getting murdered or abducted or something. Frantically started throwing on some clothes to go out and see what was happening when it screams “A spider! A SPIDER!” My fucking God, really? I hope the parents were in earshot and taught that little twat to never, ever, do that again. Of course, this has no relevance to your story, it just reminded me of it.

I probably would have called out, and might have tried to find the guy myself.

Calling 911 was the right thing to do. Whoever was calling for help might have been in a whole lot of trouble. What’s wrong trying to get help for him as quickly as possible?

Not saying this was what happened to you but here’s my similar story.

I live in a rural area and last spring while I was out with my dogs I thought I heard someone yelling. Not discernable as Help, but more like a loud Hay! It repeated several times and I didn’t investigate because it was not sounding really close.

Found out later that one of the neighbors about 1/4 mile away had goats and their bawling was what I’d heard.

Have you ever heard a peacock?

They make a very loud noise that sounds a lot like a person yelling “Help!”

Huh, how about that.

Think it was earlier this year that a dead man was found stuck between two buildings. Someone reported hearing cries for help but couldn’t localize it. Day or two later police found the body.

So yeah, I would have called back. I don’t know if I could live with myself if I walked away from someone crying for help and found out later they had died. But I also would have been wary of someone trying to lure me into an ambush for a mugging or worse.

Thanks, everyone. I never even thought of calling back into the woods until after I’d called the police, and I didn’t have my phone with me (my bad – I never use it and just forget I have it). I did shine my flashlight into the trees, but it wasn’t my spotlight, so not much good. I’d never try to go into the woods myself. I can get lost in my own backyard. I thought I heard a second voice, very briefly; and then the other voice began yelling “help” again.

If it was just a sick prank, it went on for a long time.

I had goats for a while and they always sounded like there was a wolf nibbling on their throat.

Thanks for the peacock pic. Really does sound like “help”, but higher pitched than my mystery yeller.

There is a dweller in the woods, and one of the cops knew the way to his camp, so perhaps everything has been straightened out by now. I hope so; I don’t want to become one of those old ladies who is afraid to leave her house after dark. I need to see my stars.

The cynic in me says it could have been someone trying to lure you into an ambush. I think you did the right thing, and kept yourself safe at the same time.

That’s exactly the reason I said I’d stay on the road with a flashlight. Over the past few years I’ve heard of people going to help a stranded motorist only to have their car stolen (or worse). It’s enough that when I see something like that, I’ll leave it alone or call the police if they’re blocking traffic. It’s not a situation I’m want to put myself in anymore.

When I was in college, it was bordered on two sides by very thick woods. There was trails through it that people would run/walk on. Along the edge of the forest were signs that said (in better wording), if you’re alone, it’s after dark an/or you’re not sober…maybe come back another time.

Oddly, after dark we’d go out on the trails to get ‘not sober’.

Ick. Now I understand why people have guns.

I didn’t say before, but I was walking with a neighbor whose hearing isn’t the best. So I don’t think he heard what I was and since I wasn’t talking neither was he. It’s possible that the man doing the calling stopped when he saw (backlit by a house spotlight) that I wasn’t alone. The visibility looking into the woods at night is pretty poor. But looking out – oh shit I’m scaring myself – well someone could be close to the road and still be invisible to me.:eek:

I guess maybe it is wisest to give up my evening dog walk, even on my little dirt road. I just so love the night.:frowning:

I think you did the right thing. You don’t know what was going on. It could have been something that would have caused you to be in trouble too, and now no one knows about it. Same principle as doing CPR, you first get help rolling before you start. I hope it turns out to be nothing, but thank you for getting involved.

Maybe it was someone who wanted you to take a full-length photo of her and her baby, but she found someone else before you got there.

That’s really creepy, like the beginning of an urban legend or something.

Maybe it was the Tommyknockers…

My related story #1:

I lived in Fresno. Had a friend in San Francisco. He was an older guy (about 65 or so), in somewhat decrepit condition, alcoholic, and usually drunk when I talked on the phone with him. I had never seen his (then-)current home (one floor of a two-floor flat), but he had described it as being impenetrably cluttered, including piles of empty wine bottles. He had mentioned to me that sometimes he fell down (or tripped over a pile of wine bottles) and had a hard time getting up. We had long conversations, and he had to excuse himself every ten minutes or so to go pee or shit. His upstairs neighbors were two long-time friends of his.

So I’m talking to him one evening, and he excuses himself, and I waited for him to come back to the phone.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, I begin to notice some very faint and sporadic noises in the distant background – some kind of distant commotion, every several minutes. After a while, I thought I could just begin to make out that it was somebody saying something. After a few more minutes, I managed to convince myself that it just might sound like somebody periodically calling for help.

I had read a story somewhere about someone in New York who had some sudden emergency while talking to someone in Sweden, and the Swedish party called his local emergency number, who somehow managed to relay the message to the New York police, who saved the guy. So I thought, now is my chance to try that!

I called 911 (in Fresno) and asked if they could connect me to S. F. Emergency. No they couldn’t. But they gave me a phone number (non-emergency) for S. F. Police. So I called that – don’t remember exactly how that failed, but I wasn’t able to get through to anybody. So I called Fresno 911 again and explained that. They sounded a bit annoyed that I was calling about somebody in San Francisco who might be calling for help.

But, they asked me the phone number and address. I gave them my friend’s name and phone number. I had the address on some scrap of paper right almost at my fingertips but couldn’t find it just at the moment. They said they would call S. F. Police and tell them.

Fifteen minutes later, my friend in S. F. calls me back, offering me a thousand thank yous for calling the police. It seems that Fresno 911 followed through, and S. F. police followed through. Somehow, given just his name and phone, they found his address and went there. They somehow got the attention of his friends upstairs, who went in and found him.

He had a sudden great need to go take a shit (IBS or whatever), but had tripped on a pile of wine bottles, and couldn’t get up again, and apparently ended up shitting himself where he lay. His friends and/or the police found him like that, and picked him off the floor. (Apparently he wasn’t injured.)

My related story #2:

Going for a country drive out toward the hills to the east of Fresno, along a reasonably major (two-lane) highway.

On the way back, an ambulance screams by, heading east (that is, out toward the hills). Just about a quarter mile after that (me heading back toward Fresno), I randomly turned onto a little side road.

There, I saw a sheriff’s car (or maybe several), a laid-out mangled motorcycle by the side of the road, and a body laying there with one or two cops rendering first aid (from the very brief glimpse I got, it looked really bad), and a cop directing traffic around the wreck. I drove on by.

It occurred to me afterward: Was that ambulance supposed to heading toward this wreck? Did he miss the turn and go screaming on east, only to get lost in the wilderness? Was this dude going to die because an ambulance got lost and couldn’t find the right place?

Should I have stopped and told that cop who was directing traffic that I had just seen an ambulance go by and miss the turn?

Since I had already driven (a short ways) past the scene when this occurred to me, should I have turned around and gone back to mention it?

I didn’t stop, and I never saw any mention or follow-up in the newspapers about it. So I don’t know what happened.