I was first in line again

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Doctor Q, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    I was first in a long line yesterday. I've been first in line at movie premieres and at Apple Store events (including the release of Tiger), but never in a line like this one. It was a freeway backup!

    In the early evening yesterday, I was driving westbound on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles, the Ventura (101) Freeway, with Mrs. Q. We were going to visit some friends. In the area called Agoura Hills, a police car up ahead of us started moving back and forth across the center few lanes, which is the way they get traffic to stop. A few cars passed the police car (and got away with it) but the rest of us stopped. I ended up first in line in the fast lane!

    There had been some kind of accident in one of the righthand lanes, and ambulances and a firetruck and other police cars went past us on the shoulders, sirens on, to reach the area in front of us. We ended up at the head of a huge line of cars that backed up behind us for miles, and must have delayed thousands of people going home from work.

    We couldn't see what kind of accident it was, and in fact (this is the oddest part) we saw no other cars or people or anything damaged - just police cars and the emergency vehicles. We hoped nobody was seriously hurt. Maybe they had already towed the damaged car(s) away? Maybe somebody had walked onto the freeway? Maybe they were catching a bear that escaped from a zoo? We couldn't tell.

    One fellow near us had a police scanner and was trying to listen in to learn what was going on, but he didn't figure it out. Meanwhile, they stopped the eastbound traffic on the other side of the center divider as well. We couldn't imagine why they had to shut down the whole freeway when the activity was all in the right two lanes going westbound. Then we figured out why - a helicopter, which we had at first thought was from a TV news station, was landing on the freeway. We assumed it was for a medical evacuation.

    It was hot, and we had turned off our engines after the first few minutes, so we had gotten out of our cars. We stood there and watched as the chopper landed right in front of us! It was surreal to be standing on a Los Angeles freeway, in the fast lane, at rush hour, with no cars moving in either direction. Almost everyone was friendly and chatting with each other about how late they were going to be for wherever they were going.

    Something else a little eerie: A TV show we like, called The Dead Zone, had had its season premiere on Sunday, and the story was about a huge traffic jam where all the action took place among the people wandering around on the road or standing next to their stopped cars.

    We couldn't see any stretchers being loaded into the helicopter (perhaps they loaded from the far side), but it eventually took off again and the police opened the freeway again. We were stopped about 30 minutes total and we never did see any sign of what actually happened, even as we drove by. Traffic was certainly smooth after we got to drive again, since we were the first car in our lane and there were no cars ahead of us for as far as the eye could see. It probably took hours for the backed up traffic to totally clear.

    This last bit of the story made me laugh: After 30 minutes stopped dead, when the police finally waved to us to proceed, we got back in the car to take off. But before I could even put the car in gear, the car behind me honked at me to hurry up. That's an L.A. driver for you! :rolleyes:

    Today I saw nothing about this traffic "incident" in the newspaper or in my usual news sources online. If anybody knows anything more about what happened there, please tell me.

    Google map of the area where we stopped, just east Reyes Adobe Park.
     
  2. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    #2
    All of you should've just walked away singing "Everybody Hurts" by REM. Life imitating art??
     
  3. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #3
    It does sound like a scene in a movie.

    30 minutes? That sounds efficient for whatever it was they were doing.
     
  4. Unorthodox macrumors 65816

    Unorthodox

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    #4
    Maybe it wasn't an accident, but something happened next to the highway.
    Or maybe it was an accident but the cars got buried underground. Or flew into the air and escaped Earth's gravity. Maybe it was just a drill.
    How mysteries.
     
  5. Tanglewood macrumors 6502a

    Tanglewood

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    #5
    The only time that I've ever seen traffic stopped completely without even a trickle of cars going through was when this happened back in January. I was lucky I was going the other way to get to my college.

    ^^That would have been funny if you all just got up and walked away like the REM video.
     
  6. iRachel macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I was in a situation like this once, when I was about 10 years old. We were on a family vacation and were driving through Pennsylvania when there was some sort of large accident (unlike Dr. Q, we weren't first in line, so we never saw a thing - rumor has it that a large truck had jackknifed and was blocking all of the lanes, and the driver was badly hurt). We were stuck for at least an hour and a half - probably closer to two hours. Everyone shut off their cars and people were walking around chatting...one guy, who had his camping grill in his car, started an impromptu BBQ.
     
  7. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #7
    Awesome story Doctor Q. :)


    Hopefully anyone in the possible accident is okay. :eek:


    I wish I could have seen that stretch of backed up vehicles that no doubt reached as far as the eye could see. :)
     
  8. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #8
    I thought that we'd see the late evening TV news and they'd show an overhead shot of the freeway, and we'd be able to spot ourselves since we were in such a prominent spot. More importantly, we'd know what had happened in the first place.

    But, alas, we missed the TV news because we were late coming home, which was because we were late getting to our friends house, which was because of the traffic jam!
     
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #9
    wow. amazing story.

    they are efficent at cleanups though. Here in Chicago at least they tend to be. they get the cars moved off to the sides or towed fast, but i've never been privy to a helicopter landing myself though.

    hope everyone is alright though.
     
  10. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #10

    Darn, I hate it when one bad thing leads to another bad thing, and then onto another, and so on and so forth... :eek:
     
  11. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    #11
    Quicksand?...or maybe I watch too much TV:)


    Bless
     
  12. James L macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I have been at many of those scenes while working, and with the utmost certainty I can say that cops HATE it when they can't move traffic!

    The only four reasons I can think of for complete stoppage of traffic would be:

    1) That the vehicles involved in an accident where physically blocking all lanes, and it took that long to move them.

    2) Landing a med flight helicopter, which is often the most common cause. It depends on the road though. Often we land them at nearby fields and drive the patients to them.

    3) Structural damage that needs investigating to make sure the road is safe for traffic still. Most common on bridges, overpasses, underpasses, etc.

    4) Police investigations, such as with a fatality.
     
  13. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #13

    Yes, that would be a prime example of what I am talking about 2nyRiggz. :D :)
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #14
    Given that it's LA, though, perhaps Paris Hilton had dropped her Sidekick and they wanted to ensure no one ran over it. The delay was to (a) allow the helicopter courier to arrive, and (b) allow the cops to add their phone numbers to her contact list.
     
  15. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #15
    You had the words in the wrong order. Paris Hilton dropped her contact and police stopped traffic so everyone could look for it.
     
  16. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #16

    It is a bloody shame the way that some celebrities get treated. :rolleyes: ;) :D
     
  17. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #17
    Interesting story for sure. I didn't see anything in the papers this morning - not that I was looking real hard, mind you, but a picture of that would have caught my eye I'd think.

    Many years back a friend and I were driving back from Ohio to Chicago when there was a huge backup - traffic completely stopped. We weren't at the front of the line, but same type of thing where everyone is out of their cars. There was a group of us playing catch with a football in the median grass for awhile. The stoppage, which we found out was caused by a camper that caught on fire, lasted about an hour.
     
  18. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #18
    I feel like your story would be best fit with a wide, slow-motion boom shot, hanging over the highway with everyone milling about. I can see it right now. :D

    Thinking about it, that could be the basis for a cool short film...basing a short story around what happened at this traffic stop on a huge highway in LA...a rare event, but something that does actually happen. Granted, you'd have to get them to stop traffic on a huge highway to pull it off...
     
  19. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    #19
    Last time I dropped something...people stepped on it:(


    Bless
     
  20. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #20
    We talked to most of the other people around us. Everyone except the lady who sat in her car and scowled the whole time. And it was the same one who honked as I started to drive again.

    Some people called their families to say they'd be late, and everyone with a camera phone took photos.

    Too bad I didn't happen to have a snow cone cart with me. I could have wheeled it around and made a fortune selling snacks! I guess I'll keep one in the car, just in case, from now on.
     
  21. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #21
    Hey...interesting get-rich-quick scheme...

    -Have a friend impersonate a cop, stop traffic on a major highway.
    -Wheel concessions cart out of van.
    -???
    -Profit!
     
  22. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #22

    Same here. :rolleyes:
     
  23. Queso macrumors G4

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    #23
    Mysterious police involvement?? Nothing on the news?? No bodies or obvious signs of damage??

    Was the helicopter black and unmarked, by any chance?? :eek:
     
  24. iSaint macrumors 603

    iSaint

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    #24
    Are you sure there wasn't a blinding flash right before you drove of? Of course, you may not remember that either. :p :D
     
  25. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #25
    As a matter of fact, the helicopter was black (or at least a very dark color). It had a big "2" on the side. That's why we thought it was from Channel 2 news. So yes, this is indeed a mysterious case.

    Huh? What are you asking me about? I don't even remember starting this thread!
     

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