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Personal Experiences & Encounters
Date Received: December 24, 1998
Received by: Anonymous
I am submitting a story and photo, not to scare the daylights out of anyone but in the hopes that it will render some comfort to those who are a bit jittery about the paranormal. I'm asking that my name and e-mail address be withheld simply because my e-mail is at work and I'm not sure how kindly my employers would look upon this!
Last year there was an accident related to the El Nino weather phenomenon that was highly covered by the media. You may have seen it on TV. During a particularly fierce storm, a section of State Route 166 was undermined by the river. Two California Highway Patrol Officers, responding to a stranded motorist call, passed over the section of road just as it gave way leaving a hole 300 feet long and dropping their cruiser approximately 30 feet into the raging waters.
The accident happened at approximately 2:45 a.m. This is a very remote section of highway that winds through the mountains and sometimes radio communications experience "dead spots" so CHP dispatch was not immediately concerned when they did not receive radio transmissions from the unit. Ultimately, two passenger cars, one semi and the CHP unit fell into the river. As daylight broke, rescue crews were able to locate the semi driver and one of the passenger car drivers. The other driver was never found.
After an exhaustive search, Swift Water Rescue finally spotted what appeared to be a tire sticking up out of a sand bar. When they were finally able to reach it and dig down into the mud, they discovered the CHP unit upside down, buried in the muddy bottom with both officers still in their seat belts. One had died immediately from head injuries sustained when the car flipped and landed on its roof and the other died due to fresh water drowning after being knocked unconscious in the initial fall. Their bodies were recovered at approximately 4:00 in the afternoon.
They did, however, save two lives that night. A driver coming the other way saw their head lights fall into the river, causing him to stop. He stopped just inches away from the edge of the washout. Had he not seen the lights, both he and his young daughter would surely have ended up in the river as well.
I was very close to one of the officers. This was a tragic day for my family. The depth of grief and sense of loss have been nearly insurmountable and for a long while, compromised my ability to function well. Shortly after the accident, his sister sent me a photo that was forwarded on to her by the woman who took it. It was the picture of a cloud (attached) that so resembled an angel that people were stopping by the side of the road to look at it. The ironic thing was that it was snapped over the accident site at approximately the same time the bodies were recovered. Although I don't think this was an angel, I do believe it was a sign meant to comfort. As you can see, even the facial features are present. A month later, after the road was repaired and re-opened, a friend of the family took a picture of the same spot in an effort to reach some sort of closure. The picture of the gaping hole and the raging waters was still firmly implanted in all our minds. When she snapped the photo, nothing unusual was apparent. When the photo was developed, however, what appeared to be a beam of light and a bubble became apparent. These have since been identified as an orb (a spiritual body) and an orb in motion. The orb in motion touches down exactly where the cruiser fell off the road into the river.
Both of these officers were young (39 and 40), highly respected and well-loved members of the community who really loved their job. Both truly cared about the public they served. This road is treacherous in the best of weather. Since the accident, there have been two subsequent accidents that should have been fatalities within 100 yards of the washout, yet both times those involved walked away without a scratch. I was one of those accidents. We have all taken a great deal of comfort in these photos. Although they have died, it still feels like the essence of them are still here. There is a strange sense of warmth on this section of road as well, almost as if one were receiving a hug.
A memorial has been erected to the two officers at the site and the highway renamed in their honor. Rather than doomed, this area now feels blessed. I hope your readers can take some measure of comfort to know that those who love us and pass on before us seem to continue to care after their passing.
Thank you for withholding my name. Your comments would be appreciated.
Thank you for this great story and especially the photos. I personally remember this news event and lived the El Nino experience in Northern California in the winter of 1997/1998. With time, we hope that your family and the families of the CHP officers will feel less pain. In the meantime, believe that there must be something to these photos. If so, the two officers aren't dead, just in another place.
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