By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

Several more years have passed and I am working with my sometimes partner, Billy Tibbs.

We are in East L.A., an area unfamiliar to either of us, working a narcotics round-up with dozens of teams throughout the city with arrest warrants for dealers.

We are at Hazzard Park, a known hang-out for our two suspects. We have backed off quite a distance and we are using binoculars hoping to spot our targets. Off in the distance, I see a vehicle on Mission Road headed our way.

I call Billy’s attention to it. “Notice anything unusual about it, partner?”

“Well, if you ignore the eight to ten foot piece of telephone pole protruding from the right rear wheel well, the fact it’s doing 20 mph and that it’s on fire—why, nothing unusual at all.”

The very last thing we want to do is “get involved” with a deuce and call attention to ourselves, but we really don’t have a choice. We request a radio car and fire department then we stop the deuce right by the park.

Now the fun begins. He will not pull to the curb but leaves the car in the middle of the street. When he gets out, he is one of the drunkest and biggest people I have ever seen up close—that I’m going to arrest—6’5” or 6’6”, close to 300 pounds, with muscles going to fat.

Billy takes him by the elbow to lead him to the curb when he decides he wants to play. He grabs 5’9” Billy by the throat and tries to lift him off the ground. My sap is out and as I was behind him, I smack him a good shot behind the right ear.

He lets go of Billy, turns to look at me, blinks and makes a grab for me. Billy was on his back like a lion on a water buffalo and I had the impression the drunk wasn’t even aware Billy was there.

The three of us danced for a while, when he suddenly decided he was tired and wanted to sleep. It was only when the fire department arrived that he realized his car was fully engulfed.

As it turns out (and to our pleasure) instead of a radio car, we got the accident unit (T-Car) which had been investigation the missing telephone pole and several hit-and-runs. We were more than happy to give him our deuce.

We never did find our narc suspects. Do you suppose something spooked them?