Yes, I finally chased a picture


Ted Escobar

Lots of folks picture reporters as ambulance and fire engine chasers.

Monday, I experienced my first real chase. It took a bit of effort to get to that car-truck crash on the I-82 overpass at Dekker Road.

Actually, it was more a chess game with myself than a chase.

I was told the crash was in the eastbound lanes of I-82 near Outlook. I zipped out to the freeway, got off at Exit 63 and looked for the crash site from that overpass. There was nothing near Outlook.

I headed west on the frontage road on that side of the freeway and finally found the crash on the overpass at Dekker Road.

I parked under the overpass, thinking about hiking up the slope to the site. But there was a fence I couldn’t go over or under.

I went to the Yakima Valley Highway and headed toward Granger to get onto the eastbound lanes.

Cars and trucks were backing up to Granger. This wouldn’t work. I’d likely get there after the wreckage was removed.

Even if I did make it, the State Patrol traffic controllers would not have allowed me to park anywhere near the crash site.

So I turned back to Dekker Road and went up the gravel road toward the landfill. From ground higher than the freeway, I took pictures with telephoto so that I would at least have something.

Then I decided to look for a hole in the fence. I parked near the overpass again but in a different location. And there was no fence right there.

With camera in one hand, I started climbing toward the site. Let me tell you, those overpass slopes are steep.

It wasn’t all that bad at first as I climbed through weeds. Then I hit a dry grass and went down. It was as slick as ice in winter. I moved a few more feet and went down again.

The folks viewing from down in the flat were probably getting a kick out me trying to climb that slope.

I put the camera strap around my neck and started grabbing the grass in front of me with both hands to pull myself up.

Surprisingly, I was not gassed when I reached the top. Except for the slippage, I went up that slope like I would have as a kid.

I started shooting pictures, then a firefighter from Granger greeted me by name. He wondered where I’d come from, and I explained. He chuckled.

After I finished I looked at where I’d come from, and all I could see was me rolling down that slope.

I asked the firefighter, who was leaving, if he would take me to my car, and he did.

The only bad part of this experience was that grass. I left the area with seed pods in my pants, my socks and my shoes.

I threw the socks away. However, I spent about half an hour removing grass seed pods from my shoes. I dropped my pants off at the cleaners yesterday, saying I would pay extra, if needed, to get those seed pods out.

Yesterday I was telling my daughter-in-law about whole thing, and she asked if a picture was worth all that.

I’m not sure, I said, but it was job to do, and I did it.

My father often told (scolded) me not to leave a job undone.

— Ted Escobar is the managing editor of The Daily Sun. Email him



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