The first time the teenagers saw the Zodiac Killer, he was in the front of the taxicab, having at no point spotted the subject in the rear of the vehicle. This is what they stated in the police report:
"Saw the suspect in the front seat of the Yellow Cab, mid to passenger side, with the victim slumped partially over his lap. The suspect appeared to be searching the victim's pockets. The suspect then appeared to be wiping on the interior of the cab, leaning over the victim to the driver's compartment. The suspect then exited the cab by the passenger side front door, also wiping with a white rag, possibly a handkerchief. The suspect then walked around the cab to the driver's side and proceeded to wipe the exterior of the left door area. The suspect then fled north on Cherry Street".
Again, in relative darkness, with only streetlights for aid and viewing from the driver side of the patrol car, what sort of clear recollection can be harnessed from such a brief encounter. In the memorandum of Donald Fouke on November 12th 1969 it stated "My partner that night was officer E. Zelms of Richmond Station. I do not know if he observed this subject or not." Officer Eric Zelms was on the passenger side, closest to the sidewalk, but little is known regarding his contribution to the final drafting of the sketch, if any at all.
Eyewitness recollection is notoriously unreliable and any conviction made primarily from such testimony will inevitably be unsafe. It doesn't take much searching on the internet to find plenty of cases where this is the case, often where the suspect is far closer and viewed in broad daylight. Memory simply doesn't function like a video recorder. The problem we have in this case, is not having two sketches drawn up independently of one another - one from the teenagers and one from Donald Fouke. Once Donald Fouke has seen the sketch, he is open to suggestion and will inevitably be influenced by its viewing.
What we are looking at here, are brief eyewitness recollections late at night, one from 50-60 feet away for possibly 5 seconds and one from a moving vehicle for around 10 seconds, if you maintain the Zodiac was not stopped by the two responding officers on Jackson Street. The Zodiac declared "I look like the description passed out only when I do my thing, the rest of the time I look entirle different." The question is, do you believe him or not?