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Unhappy VW landing

Unhappy VW landing

April 13, 1972: Upside-down Volkswagen Beetle rests on the Santa Monica Freeway median.

A caption in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported:

UNHAPPY LANDING–Small car rests on median strip of the Santa Monica Freeway after the driver reportedly lost control and crashed into divider fence east of La Brea Ave., from westbound lanes. Driver, Mrs. Roslyn Bragg, 24, of Los Angeles, escaped major injuries in the mishap, the CHP said.

When former staff photographer John Malmin turned in a print of this accident, his attached caption sheet reported only:

Beetle on it’s back—Upside down VW Bug on the on the westbound side of divider fence on the Santa Monica Fwy. just east of the La Brea turnoff— Man (possibly the driver), holds up hand to oncoming traffic. Don’t know which way VW was traveling–pic made with telephoto lens so couldn’t talk to anyone.

Photographers try to gather caption information at the scene. But when they can’t, a city desk reporter or editor makes a few phone calls. In this case, the California Highway Patrol came through. The identity of the man directing traffic remains unknown.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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