From the writings of Dale Parker:
"Yes, I've had a lot of experience's, and I remember a lot of things that happened. And I also remember a lot of things that didnt happen. And if I were to try to put them all down on paper, I would probably put down mostly the things that didnt happen. And so is the failings of the human memory. However I believe I could tell a more exciting lie than the truth ever was."
I remember one chase when Frank Clay was riding with me, I think I was driving that small tan dodge at the time. That’s before Frank became a Dick, er, a detective. I think you were chasing someone South thru town and we were trying to catch up with you for backup. It had been raining and the streets were wet. We came thru the light at 9th street rolling code 3, past the bowling alley, and the unit went into a slide. I got her straigtened out, then started sliding sideways the other way. I would give her power to push the unit out of the slide, but when I backed off after getting her straight, she would start sliding the other way.
We kept sliding and powering and sliding untill we were going faster than hell down L St. We kept doing that till almost 5th St. I think you had put the guy over the curb at the sharp corner at the bottom of L St. Later I asked Frank if my driving bothered him,and he said "no, I thought you did fine". If he only knew how much toilet paper I almost had to use after that chase.
And now for the rest of that story from the lead pursuer, Dick Williams.
I overheard on my scanner in the unit about a pursuit being in progress by the California Highway Patrol heading towards my location. They were coming down highway 199 about 2 miles from where I was sitting. After a few seconds, I heard them approaching and started traveling in the same direction they would be going. It was less than 30 seconds when the stolen vehicle passed me with the CHP unit almost side by side with it. One CHP officer was hanging out the passenger side window with a shotgun and I thought he was going to shoot out one of the tires to stop the pursuit but I was told by my dispatcher, the CHP officer could not get permission to shoot. That pissed me off as we were approaching town and there were going to be a lot of traffic and civilians would be put in danger.
I motioned the CHP unit back and took over the pursuit, riding on the rear bumper of the stolen. There were two individuals in the stolen vehicle and it was believed they were both escapees from prison.
Speeds were in excess of 90 mph as we entered the city limits and I was going to back off but decided not to do that as we would be approaching a sharp curve and that was where I thought I could end the pursuit by utilizing the P.I.T. manuever. I overheard on my radio that Sheriff Lawry was going to block L St with his unit at 5th street. I knew that was going to be a very stupid mistake. I observed Sheriff Lawry pull his vehicle out onto L St and quickly got the hell out of the way as speeds were in excess of 80 mph now and when I flew past the Sheriff’s unit, all I could see was a pasty white frightened face sitting behind the wheel. But I didn’t have time to relish that moment, as we were approaching the sharp curve at Front & L St.
Their brake lights came on just as I clipped the left rear bumper, putting them into a slide. I put myself into a skidding stop and there I was, side by side with the stolen. I was too close to get my door open and the driver was looking straight at me and reaching down trying to get something. I pulled my revolver out and started to point it at his head when the two CHP officers showed up and immediately grabbed both individuals and pulled them out through the windows. By that time I was out the passenger side of my unit assisting in putting cuffs on them.
I started hearing this bellowing noise behind me, saying "Shoot the bastards Dick, Shoot the bastards". I turned and it was Sheriff Lawry yelling and he was still a pasty white and very unsteady on his feet. I thought he was getting ready to pass out. Pass out or die.
The two perps were put in the back of the CHP unit and taken to jail. The sheriff was taken home as he was not feeling well. I think it was because of his infliction of being stupid trying to block a speeding car with is unit. How does one stop a car doing nearly 90 mph. Surely not by pulling out in front of it. But this sheriff had been diagnosed with this disease by many in the department for a long time. Disease? We called it stupidity on legs.
The perps went to jail, I was written up for causing a traffic accident, Threatened with suspension for pursuing inside the city limits and hated by the CHP for taking over their pursuit. But damn, it was so much fun and worth all the crap that came down on me. I’d do it again and later I did and yep, got written up once more. Seems like every time I had fun on the job, a letter of reprimand was placed in my personal file. I think I had the thickest personal file in the department.
From the Writings of Dale Parker:
The pursuit I really enjoyed was one night Dale Edwards was with me and we were blacked out by the Vets office in Smith River. We heard on the radio, the City was chasing a 55 or 56 ford station wagon out the North end of town and they couldn't catch it, and broke off. I didnt figure it would come our way and thought it would probably head up thru Hiouchi and Gasquet. We sat there a while just chatting with the windows down, when I heard the sound of high speed tires on the hiway heading our way. I told Dale to buckle up and fired up my big gold dodge. We sat there and listened and that rig was haulin the mail. I eased up the frontage towards the hiway, still blacked out, and watched a pair of headlights come screaming up the hiway past the Landing.
Just before he got to us I turned on the headlights and the red, and watched that blue over white 56 Ford wagon go by. He actually kinda took me by surprise. I didnt think he was going as fast as he was. He had to be hitting close to 85 or so. I floored that big Dodge and she started sucking air and we were off to the races. I had turned the air filter cover over on the engine and she was making that roooooohhmmm sound and the engine wound up
We didnt catch up to that damned car until we were past Ship Ashore and by that time we were doing a good 100 mph. That damned car kept going faster and so did we. Dale was running the radio and was calling it in to dispatch and I guess she was answering, but I was to busy to listen. Dale kept hollering in the radio and I was hollering at Dale.
After we past South Indian Road, I started to pull up along side, cause he wasnt responding to the Red or the Siren. I got up to about his back door, then he started to try to push me off the road. That really pissed me off. At that time we were doing about 115mph.
I pulled in behind him really close and gave him the full effect of the siren, when the passenger in the car jumped over the front seat back and came up with what looked like a gun barrel. Dale yelled, "he's got a gun" and started yelling into the radio again. I slowed down a bit and let some distance get between us ,cause we were to big a target to miss as close as we were.We crossed the small bridge near Kamph Park and I let him get about 75 to 100 yards ahead of me.
Meanwhile the Curry County units 110 and 112 had heard our radio traffic and were calling us, as was the dispatcher.
(Curry County is the county in Oregon just across the California/Oregon State line)
Everybody was talking at once and covering each other up. Dale (Edwards) was trying to talk to everybody and it was a hell of a mess. Believe it or not, that damned wagon started going even faster. We rounded the curve by the Nautical Inn and crossed the state line. Now my speedometer showed between 120 and 125 mph. I'll bet those kids in the bug station suddenly got bug eyed as hell. Red Lights, siren screaming, engines roaring, its must have been a hell of a sight. We crossed the Windchuck bridge at almost 130 miles an hour. What a blast.
At the last episode, as I recall, we were traveling just across the Windchuck River bridge at between 0 and 400 miles an hour. I really never thought that damned Ford wagon would travel that fast, and as we passsed the Winchuck River Road, we were gaining speed again. I wasn’t to familiar with the hiway to Brookings,and wasn’t aware that the highway was under construction. We were tearing along at between 115 and 125 mph when all of a sudden the road ahead of us exploded into a dust cloud. Dale (Edwards) had been on the radio with Gloria (Our Dispatcher) and with Curry 110 giving our location and speed, when we hit the dust cloud. It was such a suprise that Dale dropped the mike. I didnt remember him telling me about the construction. Anyhow we were instantly blinded by the dust, and just happened to be close enought to the vehicle to be able to see his tail lights. I was totally focused on those tail lights because I couldn't see anything else.
Dispatch was calling, 244, your 20. (244 was Deputy Parker’s call letters and "20" meant his location ) Curry 110 was calling..."is that you coming thru the construction 244." I'm yelling at Dale to answer them, he's got both hands on the shotgun and hollering back "I cant find the God Damn mike". At this time I think our speed dropped to about 80 or 90 but was to fast to be comfortable. All I could do was try to keep his tailights in view or quit, and I sure as hell wasnt going to quit.
This sucker pissed me off and I was bound and determined to nail his ass. I dont know how far we went thru that dust bowl, but I know it was way to far for me. The radio kept blaring ...244 your 20, and Dale was pawing around the floor looking for the mike. He managed to keep one hand on the shotgun the whole trip. The ass end of the unit kept sliding back and forth, Dale kept hollering about the mike, I kept hollering at Dale and the radio kept droning...radio 244, your 20. Somewhere in that dust cloud I heard Curry 110 call, "look out he almost hit us". I didnt even see them as we went by, thats how thick the dust was.
It seems the kid driving that car had almost hit Curry 112 and put him up onto a rock pile berm and he was stuck there. I never saw either unit. It seemed the dirt would never end, but when it did,the race was on again. We hit some semblance of a hiway again and the speed increased. I dont recall how fast we were going when we approached the Chetco bridge, but it was fast. We started to get into some traffic, and that fool kid was weaving back and forth from lane to lane around cars, and thats the way we crossed the Chetco River bridge. Thank the Lord those drivers saw us coming and held their positions. We got to the top of the hill by the light,and he took a hard left turn
The road we were on had forked and there was a wide patch of grass ahead of us,I slammed on the brakes and slid across the grass to within 4 feet of a 5 foot dropoff onto the hiway.He landed smack on his nose and the rear tailgate poped open,and I expected to see him go on over onto his top, but he didn't. He landed back on his wheels with a bang.
About that time I observed a Brookings P.D. unit come sliding sideways up the hiway and almost ran into the Ford wagon. Somehow the kid got the damn thing going again, and took off thru a car lot (Coast Auto Sales) across the hiway, engine rattling like a tin can full of rocks. I backed up and took one of the forks down to the hiway and reached the hiway just as he took off north again. Dale (Edwards) had got so scared when we almost went over the bank, that he threw the mike out the window.
I got on his tail again and the radio was burping ...radio 244, your 20, and Curry 110 was calling 244 your location..and I'm hollering at Dale to answer them and he's scrambling around the floor boards for the mike. Dale finally found the mike hanging out the window, and tried to answer everybody, but I was yelling so loud, that may have been the only thing anyone heard, altho I never heard anyone mention it.
We were headed north again approaching 80 or 90 mph, when I was passed by a Curry County unit going balls out. I let him get ahead of me and kinda dropped back a little, when the Brookings unit passed me also. I just sorta hung back and let them do the chasing. Then I was passed by an OSP unit (Oregon State Police) who was really flying. This went on for a while and as they all started up a hill, Curry 110 radioed me that they were getting the vehicle stopped.
I guess it took a 30-30 rifle round bounced off the windshield by the Brookings unit that made up the kids mind. You had better believe there were some shakey hands lighting cigerettes after that run. The OSP officer told me they had a semi pulled across the hiway at Pistol River just in case. He was still in his pajamas wearing his gunbelt and slippers. I'd never seen a badge on pajamas before. The kid driving was 18 or 19 and got about a year in Curry County jail. The other kid was a juvi and was turned over to his parents.
What we thought was a gun barrel was an old broom handle that the juvi got tangled up in when he jumped into the back. That little run made the job bearable for a while.
Curry 110, Dick Wheeler
Curry 112, Royce Widmer
OSP, unknown, but flashy pajamas
244 & Reserve Deputy Edwards