Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Panic on the Streets of Ann Arbor

Yesterday I was heading out from Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, having picked up my allotment of Los Vivos y Los Muertos Saison, when I couldn't help but notice a smashed up car on the sidewalk in front of Lena and lots of state and local police cruisers blocking off the intersection of Liberty and Main. As everyone not living in a cave now knows, this was the aftermath of a police chase that ended in the arrest of some alleged heroin dealers from Detroit.

This isn't the first time cops chased purveyors of controlled substances through the streets of our fair city, as I discovered while researching my book Ann Arbor Beer: A History of Tree Town Brewing. Under the headline "Rum Runners Taken After Wild Chase," the June 2, 1919 edition of Ann Arbor's Daily Times News reported:
One man driving a car containing 180 quarts of whiskey and 108 quarts of gin was arrested, and another car believed to have contained whiskey, escaped police and sheriff's force yesterday after a wild chase through Ann Arbor's streets.

Clayton Placeway, a Detroiter, formerly of Pinckney, was the man arrested by police when the car in which he was speeding across the city broke down. It had been crippled by shot from the gun of Deputy George Gillespie who fired when the car sped ahead of him at the forks of the Dexter and Jackson roads at the city limits shortly after eight o'clock. The other car coming east on Huron street turned at Main and drove out Packard street and escaped.
Placeway, a former cop with a history of criminal behavior, was apprehended in the area of State and Huron when he abandoned his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.

Scary police chases are among the many potential unpleasant effects of prohibition, whether of alcohol or other drugs that people willingly consume. I would never recommend anyone do heroin — quite the opposite! — but prohibition is always an even larger social disaster. Mark Thornton in The Economics of Prohibition does a good job showing why this is inevitably so.

As for the Los Vivos y Los Muertos Saison, it's delicious. The bottles are likely all sold out by now, but you still may be able to try some on draft.

No comments:

Post a Comment