Hudson and Reed entered Snyder’s and immediately went to speak with the bartender. The time had waned to over an hour after the death of Mr. Wright.
They needed answers, and fast.
Hudson, a regular—whether on duty or off—knew the establishment and the bartender well. The bar was full of smoke but surprisingly well lit
“Hey, Ralph, how’s it goin?” Hudson asked, while leaning over the bar as if it were a casual visit “Hey. What can I do for you tonight, chump?” the bartender replied with a sneer.
“Did you see what happened over there about an hour ago?” Hudson nodded out the front window without breaking eye contact with Ralph.
“Sure thing. Sad, I can tell you, on the level. I was washin’ a glass when I looked up to see the window of the second story open, and a second later out came this guy bout pop’s age onto the pavement. He rolled into the street, staggerin’ to get up, ya see, and outta nowhere this red Plymouth nails him. Didn’t even stop! And kept drivin’.” Ralph explained in his energetic way.
“You didn’t get a license plate, did ya?” Hudson asked, assuming that Ralph hadn’t.
“Hey, my eyes ain’t that good, pal. But—er, uh, that fella may have.” Ralph pointed to a man sitting at a table in front of the big window to the right of the door.
“Thanks, Ralph,” Hudson said while getting Reed from a nearby stool.
They walked over to the man and asked him if he had gotten the license plate number of the car that killed Mr. Wright.
“I seen it alright: 148-KL3. I have a Plymouth about like that, so I was interested in it, even though it was only there for a few seconds.”
The detectives thanked the man, and Reed dialed the telephone for the station to get the address for the owner of the car. While someone pushed Mr. Wright to his death, the car was indeed what ultimately killed him, and the driver was partly guilty, especially because he left the scene of the crime.
Hudson lit up another Lucky Strike and waved goodbye to Ralph as the two detectives headed for their car. They could at least nab the driver before he had a chance to run for good.
Reed drove to an arrangement of apartments that was more like a row of motel rooms. Apartment 5 was the target, rented by a man named Walther Bennings. It was dark, with little traffic, and everyone in his right mind was asleep by this hour: 2 a.m.
Both Hudson and Reed figured that Bennings was going to leave town immediately and try to evade police. They also assumed that he would be in a frantic state, and seeing how there was no back door, it would be like cornering a wild animal.
As soon as they pulled into the parking lot, they saw a man with two suitcases walking quickly to a red Plymouth. Like a deer in the headlights, Mr. Bennings turned to see Hudson’s car coming straight for him. Hudson stopped, with Mr. Bennings equidistant from the detectives and his Plymouth.
Reed opened the door quickly and yelled, “Walther Bennings, you are under arrest for…”
As Reed Shut his door, Bennings dropped his suitcases and fled for his car. Reed instantly turned around to get into his car again. Luckily for Bennings, he had already started his car and it was running. He quickly dashed out of the parking lot and onto the street as Hudson accelerated to match him. Hudson sounded the siren on their undercover Nash while Reed took out his gun in hopes of shooting out their quarry’s tires.
“Fantastic,” Hudson yelled over the siren, “a ……. runner!” Most of his voice was drowned by the siren, and for good reason. The chase was on …
Continued in the spring …