Funny, Funny Stories From my days at Eden, P.D.
By Michael D. Martin, E.C.P.D. Retired
About the author...Michael Martin (pictured front row, far right in the 1981 photo) is a retired veteran of 25 years on the Eden City Police Department, and has penned a number of anecdotal writings recalling his experiences.
XLVI. Bland County, VirginiaThis happened back in the early seventies. There was a man who was transferred to Eden to work for a local industry and he came, with his family from a northern city and he had a sixteen year old son who just simply did not adjust. We arrested him a few times for minor matters, mostly fighting, and we realized the lad was having problems.
One evening, the kid kidnapped his teacher and held her for a few hours and when he turned her loose, he took her car. We did not know she had been kidnapped until she called and reported it and reported the auto larceny.
At that time, a person over sixteen was treated as an adult and warrants were drawn and teletypes (yes teletypes) were sent out.....APB's ( all points bulletins) yes, this was a long time ago.
We all went to bed that night not knowing where the kid was. I do not remember the exact hour now, but I was awakened from sleep by our dispatcher, Bland County, Virginia had received the bulletin and a deputy had spotted the car and arrested the young driver.
I met Chief Marshall Clark and Lt. Garnet Smart at the Station about one am, we gassed up the chief,s car and set off for Bland County. We went to Martinsville and hit #58 to Stuart and then we really went into the mountains.
At four am, we dropped down a dark mountain road into the town square of the only real town in Bland County, We were in Bland, Virginia.
We pulled up to an old building that had a sign that said "Bland County Sheriff's Department and Jail." No one was stirring so we knocked on the door of the jail for several minutes. "Good god almighty!" came a voice from within," someone's trying to break into the jail!" and the door was opened by a tall, rawboned deputy that reminded me of Clint Eastwood. We explained that we were detectives from Eden, North Carolina and we had come to interview the kid that was arrested in the stolen car from North Carolina. The deputy wiped the sleep from his eyes and invited us in. As we walked into the jail, it was evident that the jailer/deputy and his wife lived in an apartment in the jail. There were evidently several prisoners in the jail and they woke up and began to raise a ruckus, the deputy walked to a metal door and yelled, "Ya'll be quiet or I'll get the water hose out again." it was like someone cut off a light switch..it got quiet in an instant.
The deputy explained that he had arrested the lad in the stolen car, he was the only deputy in the county and the sheriff made two, there was two state policemen stationed in the county for a total law enforcement presence of four men. There was a construction crew blasting a tunnel thru a mountain and on friday nights, they all got drunk and he had to lock up most of them. He said he had some warrants to serve because there were some men from Carroll County hunting in a hollow in Bland County and they were all drunk and shooting off their rifles.The deputy said he was going to wait untill morning and get all the rest of the Bland County boys to go with him because those people from Carroll County would shoot you.
I did not say anything, but I thought it was a fifty-fifty shot he was talking about some of my distant kin folks as my great great grandfather, Giles Martin had come out of Carroll County. We did our interviews and about six am we were getting in the car to leave and I was shaking hands with the deputy when we both saw a 1956 ford sedan gliding silently thru the town square. "there goes the meanest durn woman in Bland County" the deputy said. "How's that" "Hell boy, she shot me seven times." with that, we left for the big city.
Michael D. Martin