Blue Candy

By by Deborah “Kay” Hughbanks/compiled by John Wills

I worked first watch, midnight to eight, most of my career in the so-called bad part of town.

On this particular night, I responded to a burglary call near the end of my shift; it turned out to be a good burglary, good being a relevant term, for it meant a real crime had occurred and not a false alarm.

It had been a long night. As I headed back to the Southeast Substation, westbound on Lake June Road, a six lane residential road divided by a median, I saw a very large black male standing inside the westbound lane of traffic—my lane. I thought, ”Crap, I just want to go home.” The man wasn’t watching traffic, and it was about fifteen minutes to eight on a weekday. I had to get him out of the road.

Slowing my squad car, I pulled up beside him. He had a blank stare. “Step out of the road, sir, so you don’t get hit.” The man simply nodded and stepped up on the concrete median. I continued driving, all the while knowing I needed to go back. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him still standing on the concrete median, so I turned around and told the dispatcher to mark me out.

I stopped my car, turned on the overhead lights, and got out. This was a big man. Experience told me he was what we call “exceptional,” meaning mentally ill or challenged. Standing six feet four, he must have weighed close to three hundred pounds. Paradoxically, he looked like a lost five-year-old. He wore a long-sleeved button-down dirty shirt with a woman’s three-quarter sleeve white sweater with pastel horizontal stripes over it. The sweater would have fit my five-foot-four, one hundred seventy pound stature. He had on dirty brown Dickies pants and was barefoot.

The man carried a plastic grocery sack containing clothes and a pair of shoes. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“Waiting for a ride,” he answered.
Immediately I knew he needed help. “Do you take any medication?”
“Yes,” he said, so I asked if he had been taking it and replied he had not.
“Is anything wrong?”
His response was to reach down, un-zip his pants, and pull out his penis.
“That’s ok, you can keep that, I don’t need to see it,” I quickly responded. Thankfully, he put his penis back inside and zipped up his pants.

It was apparent he had mental difficulties, so I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital and get some help.

“Yes,” he replied. I told him I would give him a ride to Parkland Hospital, the county hospital for our area. Since he did not appear to be a danger, I couldn’t admit him. He had to admit himself. After getting his name and birth date, I verified he didn’t have any warrants for his arrest and wasn’t a known felon. Next, I told him I would have to pat him down. No one gets in my squad car without having been searched for weapons.
He was very agreeable and didn’t hesitate to do whatever I asked. So I patted him down and placed him in the back of my car because my duty bag was in the front passenger seat. Getting back in the car, I adjusted my rear view mirror so I could see the man’s eyes. The mirror allowed me to talk to him and observe him during the trip.

I marked out at the hospital with the man in the back seat and off we went. While we were en route, I asked him some questions, trying to keep him talking, albeit just small talk, but as I watched him in the rear view mirror, I sensed he was seeing something I couldn’t see. I called his name, asking him what he was seeing.

He said, “Candy.” I thought, that’s good, at least it wasn’t demons. I sped up a little. The man started rocking while saying, “Candy canes, chocolate kisses, lollypops,” naming all kinds of candy. I sped up a little more. Then he paused and looked into the rear view mirror, into my eyes and said, “And blue candy,” as if that was the good stuff, and he smiled.

We were almost there, and I got him off the candy topic. We pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, and I walked him in through the emergency room door so he could admit himself. It was very crowded and loud. After I got him registered, I recognized he was becoming anxious. I had doubts whether this trip to the ER would work or not, so I walked him back out to the parking lot. I told him he really needed help and that I could help him, but I would have to handcuff him to take him where I could help.

He looked at me and replied, “Yes. I want help.” He placed his bag on the back of my squad car and put his hands behind his back; he looked so worn out. I walked him in through the police entrance so I could admit him for help. As he sat down, it seemed all the air went out of him. He was clearly exhausted.

While I started on the paper work, a nurse and doctor came in. The doctor was very arrogant. He spoke rudely and acted put out. Meanwhile, the man I had brought in began to rock back and forth, and as the doctor asked questions, the man became more and more agitated. He looked at me and said “I’ve already answered these questions.” I told the doctor he was upsetting the man, but the doctor replied that he had to ask the questions.

At this point, two large male nurses entered the room, causing the man to begin to talk about candy again. He rocked faster. I put down my pen and said to the doctor, “You’re pissing him off.” The two male nurses took a step back. The doctor continued. The man continued listing candies and rocking faster. Once again, I warned the doctor about the impending problem, but the doctor continued with his litany of questions.

Suddenly, a nurse in a blue uniform entered the room. The man looked at her, stopped listing candies, and then looked at me as if he had finally found it and said, “And blue candy.” As he finished the statement, and while still handcuffed, he rushed the female nurse in the blue uniform like a football player going for a tackle. The two male nurses and I dove for the man and took him to the ground. I wrapped myself around both of his legs, while each male nurse got an arm. The four of us just lay on the floor holding him down. The man barely touched the nurse because we caught him in time. Nevertheless, she screamed and ran from the room.

The doctor stood there, his mouth agape, as if to say, “What the hell?” The two male nurses and I were laughing at the situation because we saw it coming, and, of course, we were laughing at the look on the doctor’s face. Recovering, the doctor ordered the nurse to bring him a shot of Adivan and Haldol. She ran out of the room, happy to get away from her near-attacker.

While we waited for her to return with the injections, we continued to utilize our body weight to hold the behemoth down. It seemed like forever until the nurse came back. She gave the man the cocktail injection, and once it kicked in, he relaxed so much we had to drag him to a room. The first thing I told the doctor after I got up off the floor was, “I told you, you were pissing him off.”

After that incident, I never transported any “blue candy” people without cuffing them first. While the incident was somewhat funny, I also realized it could have turned out much worse.
(For more stories by John Wills and “Women Warriors” go to or