Prologue: August 1947
San Francisco Central Police Station: Headquarters for the best crime fighting agency in the county. Two detectives, Lars Hudson and Jeff Reed, sat at their desks in the upstairs office.
Their shift had just ended, and it was around 1:20 in the morning when Chief Ed Dietrich came in.
“Hudson, you and Reed go down to 317 Market Avenue and check out a possible hit and run. We just got the call, and the coroner and photographers are in route,” said Dietrich.
“We just got off duty, chief. Give us a break, will ya? We had to pull a load of license plates and run down a burglar today! ” Hudson replied.
“Well you’re back on duty, and I don’t wanna hear it, Hudson. Just take Reed and check it out!”
“Right… Reed, you’re drivin’” Hudson said, unenthused.
The two detectives went downstairs, through the vacant sitting lobby and out to their squad car: a green 1946 Nash.
Reed looked to Hudson as they both entered the car. “Can we get something with a little more….. power? This thing is like drivin’ a lead hearse.”
“Sure,” said Hudson sarcastically. “You just let me know when you got a few thousands lyin’ around or your old lady wills ya her fortune,” he continued in a smart tone.
“I’m just sayin the new Dodges this year are pretty nice Hudson,” Reed replied honestly.
“Just drive, will ya? We’ll talk about our happy future together after we get this done and go hit the hay.”
Reed backed out of the parking lot and drove down the street to the crime scene.
“The Good and the Wright”
1:36 a.m. Crime Scene: Apartment complex on Market Avenue
Detective Hudson took a last puff from his cigarette and threw it down as he exited the car. It was a warm August night, with very little traffic in the downtown area. The bars and clubs were open up and down the street, and yet there was a still and somber atmosphere that hung heavy in front of the apartment building.
A man was lying face-up in the street, with a trail of blood stretching a distance. Police had already blocked off the area as the photographers lit up the crime scene taking pictures of the middle-aged male’s body.
Detectives Hudson and Reed walked from the car to the scene and took a slow glance of the area. They soon gave each other looks, describing their innermost feelings about the place: another routine traffic case. The coroner, Frank Meyer, knelt by the body and glanced quickly at the detectives.
“What’s it look like, Frank?” asked Hudson unsympathetically.
“Looks like vehicular homicide. I would guess the cause of death to be internal bleeding, but an autopsy should reveal more.”
“Hit and run,” Reed declared.
“Just what we needed,” replied Hudson.
“Also,” Frank turned the victim’s head to the right, “blunt trauma to the skull. The victim was struck over there and was thrown from there to here, tearing his pants and coat, here and here,” he pointed.
Hudson whistled. “Must be about 15 feet.”
Reed quickly added, “Meaning the car must have been going very fast.”
Hudson looked around, up and down the street again while Reed knelt down to inspect the body. Frank stood up and dusted his hands off.
“We got an I.D. on the vic’?” Hudson asked.
Reed searched through the man’s coat pockets thoroughly, revealing an I.D. He handed it to Hudson after quickly glancing through it.
“Roger Wright, age 47, current address 451 South Hartman Blvd…. married,” Hudson read aloud.
“Hmm, better let the wife know,” Reed said solemnly.
“Yeah. He must have been down here for a drink. Not a bad idea, actually. Let’s look around a bit and ask around for any witnesses,” Hudson said while firing up another cigarette.
Hudson turned toward the opposite side of the street and walked to the bar across the way. Reed started to walk toward the apartment when he noticed Mr. Wright’s leg was broken in addition to the scrapes and tears.
“Hey, Frank, get a load of this,” he called.
“His right leg is fractured in two places: here and here,” he said, pointing.
Frank interrupted, “Those could be possible signs of a fall from a considerable height!”
Reed stood up and looked up at a third-story window of the apartment building that was opened with a breeze blowing inward, blowing the curtains around.
“Hey, let’s check out this apartment building, Hudson!” Detective Reed called out.
“I was goin’ for a drink,” Hudson said to himself.
Hudson turned around but gave a sad look over his shoulder toward the bar. He walked quickly back to detective Reed and met him at the door of the building. Hudson threw away his cigarette, and Reed opened the door …
To Be Continued Next Time