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· Global Village Idiot
641 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Warning : Rant about to unfold!

And the big winners are:

California Highway Patrol
Antelope Valley Towing Services (at least 3 companies)
Antelope Valley local government

So what's up with this?
Drive out to the spectator stage at Spunky Canyon - awesome spot on any other day but today. It was raining heavily all morning so no cars were able to get up the dirt road to the parking area for the stage. When I arrived at 2.30pm there were cars all over. Parked in the dirt turnout, the dirt at the sides of the road - everywhere. At least 200 vehicles! I find my spot - display my Adventure Pass.
So set off walking into the stage - the parking area is 2.7 miles off the highway - the stage is another 2 past that. With on/off rain the walk is not too bad - get a ride in a pick up truck for most of the way (Thanks guys!).

The Saturday restart was delayed until 1pm so first car was expected by us at around 3.50pm. I arrive at the spectator areaat 3.30pm, told we have about a 20 minute wait. Cool! Find my spot, settle down and wait. And here comes Mother Nature once more. Rain coming sideways, freezing cold - problems on Del Sur stage delaying start of Leona - our spectator stage!
After and hour and a half I was so numb I had to leave, along with many others! (Love rallying but there had already been a Hypothermia case the night before so I didn't want to become a statistic!)

Set off walking back down the road - again get truck ride back to highway! (Thanks again, other guys!!)
Arriving back at the road it looks very empty - seems like most folks had given up and headed off! Or so I thought.

Along comes Mr.CHP, and his tow trucks!!!!!

I walk back to my car to find it being raised up onto a tow truck! WTF!! According to the driver, all the cars parked at the side of the road were parked illegally, and making it dangerous on the road!
We were all parked on the outside of the white line, on dirt, off the road - but Mr Plod decided he wanted some Brownie points from his Captain!

Tow Truck guy (with a WRX on the flatbed and my car on the hitch) said that he had to take it unless I paid $100 RIGHT NOW!!! What am I to do - it's 16 miles to Palmdale, it's freezing and pissing with rain! I pay! While sat in his truck with him writing out the receipt along comes his colleague in another tow truck. Colleague rolls down window and comments "It's like Christmas, man!" then drives off. Prick!

At the same time, WRX owner returns to find his car on the back. He's pissed because the car had been dragged onto the flatbed still in gear and he's worried his diffs may be screwed! He pays.
I check out my car and notice that the brainiac tow truck driver was minutes away from towing my front wheel drive CRX with the rear raised and the car in gear. What a cock!

This all happened today about 2 hours ago. What a load of BS. The CHP are fully aware that the rally was going on. Every car I saw had an Adventure Pass on the mirror - and I'm sure no-one was aware that we were illegally parked. It appears that an overzealous Officer decide to f**k up everyone's day by leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no car in the pouring rain. The tow truck drivers all made their commission and we got reamed!

I was lucky that I got a ride out of the stage, that I was not 3 minutes later and that I could get out of the rain. I feel very sorry for the poor sods who were stuck up on the stage waiting to watch the action while they were getting screwed by the local law enforcement. I wish I'd had a van so I could wait for them, to get them back to Palmdale - even though they couldn't their cars back til Monday! (Per the driver!) And if towing damages AWD cars - there were a hundred subies there that are going to have some issues with the tow yards.

I'm sure folks have parked there before without trouble, but CHP chose today to be pricks!
There was plenty of room for cars to drive by in both directions, no cars were in the way - I don't understand!

So, I'm home now. Dryer, warmer, poorer! Didn't get to see any rally cars in action but drooled over plenty in Parc Expose (an excellent display by the way!) And I got Nicky Grist to sign my 1/18th scale Focus and pose for a pic!
And best of all - the tow truck hitch broke while he was trying to raise my car!!

Hope you all had a nicer day!

· Registered
258 Posts
All I can say is, I was counting on the car being there when I returned from the stage (which I simply decided to give up on--didn't want to freeze to death out there. We hiked over four miles, and by the time I arrived, it was estimated to be around 40 degrees, rain blowing sideways, and every inch of my clothing was soaked), and sitting in there and changing with the heater on full blast. If it hadn't been there, I really think I would have been in deep ****... A very irresponsible move by the CHP; they should have ticketed people instead. I think towing peoples' cars, with their dry clothes in them, could have been a real safety hazard.

Nonetheless, I would like to commend the organizers for doing such a great job with the service park and parc expose, not to mention all the other stuff I probably didn't see because I was afraid of contracting hypothermia. What bad luck...

· Registered
445 Posts
We got up to spunky canyon early around 12, one of the first groups there and it was horrible. We tried to make it up spunky in a rental and it was useless. After almost getting our car stuck for good and seeing several 4x4 stuck or having big time second thoughts we decided to ditch any further attempts.. On the way out of this soup we witnessed a wrx that had slipped off the side of the road and practically buried itself to its bumper. So we decided to check out maxwell and the last stages which looked possible for a decent 4x4 but our p.o.s. Malibu tried again and failed. I cant imagine what you guys went through walking up to the top of spunky thats atleast a 3 mile hike up that trail through sludge. Hope everyone had a good time and gets their cars back :)

· Registered
77 Posts
An estimated 50 cars were towed but they refused to tow the truck with a broken spindle that blocked the access road to Spunky which is why everyone parked on the highway.Who is the jack*#! responsible for this? Those cops should've hiked 6 miles in the mud and hang out in the storm for four hours to find their cruisers taken. Sorry, 7-11 is 11 miles down the road!

· You get one life,live it!
1,962 Posts
Thanks Nick! the first part of your message saves me some typing ! only we arrived at 12:00 and did try to drive up but my Saturn Vue soft road vehicle didn't like it so we parked and walked.
5 hours later we did see the first 15 cars and then walked back.We met some great people at the specie area and little did we know that we would meet them again.All the cars where gone, OK mine was still there but there guys we met and his 8yr old were not so lucky.They were wet , tired and all their stuff ,cell phone etc where in the car.The girl was crying ,we where well late for getting home but hey you can't leave rally people behind ,so off we went on the Palmdale tour to find their car.We found the towing bas*ards and he was just leaving to get another car! we stopped him ,he said 'here's the deal you pay me $50 to open the gate and another $150 for towing and then the CHP fee's,but I only want cash!'(robbing bastik) so what person goes off to watch a rally with over $200 in cash? so off we go for another tour of Palmdale for an ATM machine.Return later with the cash only to be told 'er well the it seems the CHP didn't do the paperwork for their car come back tomorrow! these unlucky guys rented the car/hotel and came down from the bay area to watch the rally and got this treatment.
They did have some friends at the start venue so we dropped them of there and I hope everything worked out for them.A real shame the CHP had nothing better to do than tow all these cars away and being in the middle of nowhere very dangrous if someone came back late and couldn't get home.
So I got home at 10:00pm not happy.


Chris Wilson

Sorry I didn't see you there Nick

· 400 flat to crest
6,117 Posts
Call your local scandal news TV stations and ask them to make some visit to the cops supervisors and ask them who authorized leaving people wet and cold out in the hills.

Granted it may have been an ordinary pleasant afternoon in many parts of the country, but a storm is relative and if you guys were all stranded in cold stormy conditions, which even a California cop ought to be able to imagine would be the case, they aren't THAT dumb (are they?) then it must be presumed that it was intentional leaving people in the wet and cold.

Heads should roll, it's seems like obvious INTENTIONAL shakedown for C MONEY.

Follow the Money.

Scum cops.
Scum tow truck buddies of the cops.

John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires

· Registered
55 Posts
Chris, thank you for helping those people.

This was a huge cash grab by the towing companies, as the "CHP hasn't done the paperwork, come back monday for your car and some extra storage fees" experience is also being related by people on the www.nasioc.com site.

I have to think that those individual CHP officers must be getting some sort of green handshake from the towing companies involved.
Otherwise, at what point is
deliberately stranding 100 people (including small children, as Chris details) on a mountain,
in the middle of nowhere (with no radio contact and no cell service),
in freezing rain,
getting dark,
knowing full well that they have already been cold and wet for several hours and most likely were not prepared to be in that weather to begin with and not from that area
enhancing the safety of the general public?
x( x(

· You get one life,live it!
1,962 Posts
Hey Dave

Glad to help but don't thank me! you and the rest of the helpers who stood for hours waiting to give the bad news to everyone need the a BIG THANKS I had the easy bit.I still can't beleive what happened.


· Registered
2,120 Posts
This whole thing was unfortunate, but I should point out that, while I didn't see all of the cars that were towed, many of the ones I saw were parked over the white line on the road surface...some as much as two feet onto the pavement...which is illegal.

The disabled pickup was not the problem...the road was truly impassable by anything less than a 4WD...and one with a good driver.


· Registered
44 Posts
>This whole thing was unfortunate, but I should point out
>that, while I didn't see all of the cars that were towed,
>many of the ones I saw were parked over the white line on
>the road surface...some as much as two feet onto the
>pavement...which is illegal.
>The disabled pickup was not the problem...the road was truly
>impassable by anything less than a 4WD...and one with a good

Sorry Bruce - but at some point common sense has to kick in.

I'm sure some of the cars where illegally parked - but a simple ticket would have been enough - to strand kids in 40 degree weather with horizontal driving rain takes a special kind of d**khead.

I made the hike to the top - when I got there we found 3 kids standing shivering - one was in jeans and a long sleeved T shirt and was probably no more than an hour away from being a pretty serious hypothermia case.

We gave them most of our warm clothes and an umbrella and managed to get him warmed up to a reasonable level again.

We gave up after a 3 hour wait and walked on down the hill.

I couldn't belive it when I saw what was going on - those police officers put peoples lives at risk for sure.

"To Ensure profit, reguardless of risk" needs to be the new police motto around there, as I sure as heck didn't see ANY protecting and serving going on that day.

I'd say that everyone who feels strongly about this needs to register a complaint with the police. I know I will for sure.

· Loose Nut
400 Posts
Watch out everybody, Josh is PISSED!

Jacquot wants to kick all their asses in his column, but needs details. He isn't registered now, so I'm posting for him. here's his request:

"I need any info available. Cops names, numbers, etc. Time. Exact location.
Names and contact info for anyone whose car was towed. Are they sure is was
CHP? Towing company names.

I'll post when I can.


His address is [email protected]

-Dave Coleman

· Registered
44 Posts
Yes I know of cars towed that had the correct pass clearly displayed.

In addition I saw tow truck workers using sticks to see if any part of the car over hung the white line to see if they could tow the vehicle. One of the tow truck drivers also made the comment that it was like "Christmas in May".

And as for the people who have said that the parked cars where a safety hazard and where blocking the emergency vehicles - funny how the tow trucks managed to get up and make multiple 3 point turns with no bother... and to refuse service to the guy with the truck with the broken axle until the $$$ grabbing was complete.

Sorry no excuses - this was pure profitering on the part of CHP and Tow operators at the expense and endangerment of the people they are supposed to serve and protect.

After walking off the mountain and finding their cars towed - the final rub for some was the CHP office was closed and would not process paperwork until monday - these people where charged a "storage fee" for keeping their cars until Monday, plus hotel for the night and lost work today.

I feel bad for all those people who had their Subaru's towed with 2 wheels down. Hope they didn't overheat your center diff's too badly.

· Registered
433 Posts
I can not believe that they would leave that many people stranded in the middle of no where unless those cars needed to be moved like "now". If there was enough room for emergency vehicles to pass, then there could have just been tickets issued. If emergency vehicles were unable to pass, I would have to side on the law enforcement side. But I would have made every effort to seek the owners prior to leaving them stranded. they could have utilized the forest service personell that were in the area, who had contact with our spectator crews via radio (cell), etc.
I would really like to hear the other side of the story before I "fire away" at them(CHP) for this. Can you imagine what would have happened if one of the spectators came down for his Diabetic medications to find that not only was his car gone, but his cell phone, his medication, etc.
But on the flip side, can you imagine if this same person had a Diabetic reaction up in the hills, and the Emergency vehicles could not get to him, because the road was blocked by spectator vehicles.

This scenario can be made up many ways..bottom line was...did the spectators leave enough room for other vehicles to pass?
Did the law enforcement act appropriately for the situation??

The towing companies were doing what they are contracted to do.. If the towing companies had refused to tow the cars, they would have put there contract, as well as there jobs on the line. So, I would focus the anger towards the problem. It was either the people whos vehicles were blocking the road, or the person who made the "call" to have the vehicles removed.

Your job, if you choose to take it, is to find someone that took pictures of the parking area. Was there actually enough room for Emergency vehicles to get by? To find out who made the call to "Tow"? Was there more than one agency on scene ie: CHP, Forestry Service, Sheriff, etc. Who's juristiction was the road in? Was it a county road, forestry road, etc.

· Registered
71 Posts
I was one of the lucky ones. I came down off the mountain (frozen solid) after more than 4 hours in weather that can only be described as a Category 3 hurricane in January to find my Hertz Explorer still there (but all by itself). I was on the inside of the white line, and had the pass displayed on the mirror. I cannot imagine the "shock and awe" of the poor folks who made the same trip only to find their cars gone when they got to the bottom. I know I would have been positively apoplectic if that had happened to me. While there was definitely some creative parking going on, it was absolutely not a hazard. While the tow operators were probably just doing their jobs, this behavior by the CHP should not go un-punished! Go get 'em Josh!

· Faster !!!!
776 Posts
This is the worst case of stupidity I have ever heard of on the
part of any police agency. Towing cars which are parked LEGALLY
and/or are parked on a two lane road with a tire one inch over the
white line was stupid and there was NO EXCUSE for the behavior of
the police agency responsible. I say this without even taking into
consideration the seriousness of the weather.

The police officer responsible should be FIRED.

I left the bottom of Spunky Canyon early and helped out the organizers by delivering and setting up banners and stuff at the spectator area. THERE WAS NO SAFETY ISSUE WITH THE PARKED CARS. The cars were parked on the side of a two lane road. You could have hauled a double wide mobile home through the space between all the parked cars.

I was one of the last people out (we spectated until almost the last car), and I gave a ride to four people who's cars were both gone when we got to the bottom of the hill. There were still five more people walking out who I was unable to give a ride to. We got to the bottom of Spunky Canyon at about 7:30 pm and there were no more cars parked - I'm sure those five poor freezing souls were at least as pissed as everyone else when they got to the bottom of the hill.

>I would really like to hear the other side of the story
>before I "fire away" at them(CHP) for this.

I see a form letter being written at a police agency right now ...

>But on the flip side, can you imagine if this same person
>had a Diabetic reaction up in the hills, and the Emergency
>vehicles could not get to him, because the road was blocked
>by spectator vehicles.
See what I said above about the double wide.
>This scenario can be made up many ways..bottom line
>was...did the spectators leave enough room for other
>vehicles to pass?
See what I said above about the double wide.

>Did the law enforcement act appropriately for the
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO !!!!!
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO !!!!!
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO !!!!!

>So, I would focus the anger towards the problem.
That would be the police officer who made the "call" to have the
vehicles removed.
I don't know who I could contact to make a difference in this
situation, but I'd really like to find out.

This situation did not effect me personally in any way.

I just think that the person who chose to strand several hundred people in the middle of the forest "11 miles from civilization" during a freezing winter storm needs to be FIRED at the very least. The person responsible KNOWINGLY ENDANGERED the lives of hundreds of people by his actions. I may be wrong, but I think it is a CRIME punishable by fines and/or imprisonment to knowingly endanger the life of another human being. Is this what we pay our police angencies to do for us ???????

OK, I'm done venting for now . . .
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