By Mikey, retired LAPD
It was the winter of 1978 and as I recall the rain was relentless, not unlike what we have just experienced this year (2016). I was working Morning Watch with my partner Larry A. who liked to drive. At about 0100 hours on a weekday morning we were responding to a radio call in one of the many hillside communities of Northeast Division. It had been raining earlier so we were driving on slick roads. Larry decided we would take a short cut to the call and drove off the paved road and onto a very narrow dirt, and now very muddy road.
We did not get far when the cruiser got stuck in the mud and it started to rain again. As Larry tried to get the unit out of the rut, the front end started to slide left, the downhill part of the “wannabe road.” It appeared that we were heading for Eagle Rock Boulevard below which was now rising, like the sun through Larry’s window. Larry and I were in a left banking turn/slide and the movement was not stopping.
Peering over Larry’s shoulder, I knew were going to take days (on the beach) for wrecking the car after it nosed-dived onto the street. Or we were going to get seriously killed. Just then the movement stopped and I gently opened my door. I got of the car and managed to low crawl back onto the level part of the road.
Looking back, I see Larry attempting to crawl across the seat toward my door, his eyes as big as silver dollars. In those days, there was nothing to obstruct his movement. Try that today. He managed to pull himself out and did the same low crawl to where I was standing. There were no ROVER (handhelds) and no cell phones. Nope, didn’t have them in those days. We look at each other then back into the car and stare at the radio. I say, “you got us here, you make the call.” Back at the driver’s side, Larry has the radio in his hand, but I can’t hear a word—remember it’s raining.
He low crawls back and tells me he got a hold of another unit and they are responding to our location.
Now we have four coppers trying to think this through. Mike and Robert, (no last names) said they remember seeing a jeep, in a driveway WITH A WINCH!!!
Just as they leave to investigate, our cruiser starts making more slipping noises, damn, so close. After what seemed like the entire watch, the guys came back with a very tired looking guy and his JEEP! The guy hooks up the unit, crawls back to his machine and starts cranking away. He re-hooks the car in another location and does this a couple more times until he can winch it up to the pavement. With flash lights in hand the four of us inspect the cruiser and find it muddy, but without any damage! We asked the Jeep owner what he drank and preceded to obtain the case of beer from a supermarket which will remain nameless. After telling the night manager what had happened he provided us with the Jeep owners reward.
Larry did not ask for, nor was given, permission by me to drive until we were out of the rainy season, it was a long rainy season.