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Car, pool

Car, pool

March 18, 1984: A car sits at the bottom of the Costa Mesa Inn pool as police investigate. The driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. No one was injured.

Los Angeles Times Deputy Managing Editor Colin Crawford reflects on shooting this image:

I was working the late shift for the old Orange County Edition of The Times. It was back in the days when we still used film and did our work in the darkroom.

While I was printing photos, I heard the police scanner broadcast a report of a car in the swimming pool at the Costa Mesa Inn. The motel was only a few blocks away, so I jumped in my car and sped over.

Upon arrival, I noticed the fence and bushes around the pool had been crushed, and, sure enough — there was a full-size car sitting at the bottom. The driver had been pulled to safety without major injuries and was no longer at the scene.

I had covered a number of other car crashes, cars that had run into houses, cars that overturned, cars on top of each other, but this one was a bit unusual. The scene was pretty dark, and a long exposure was needed. I grabbed my tripod and set up along the side of the pool, making a few long exposures,  probably in the three- to eight-second range.

After a few minutes of shooting, I got caption information from the police on scene,  hurried back to the office, developed the film and made a print for deadline. This image ran in the next day’s paper.

The good news is that because there was no loss of life or major injuries, it’s an image that you can look at and laugh about. The things we Southern Californians do with our cars never cease to amaze me.

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