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Pick-Up Truck Catches Fire Under 2-Freeway Bridge

An Eagle Rock resident nearby takes photos of the burned truck and a sidewalk strewn with trash—the area, he says, is notorious for "parking, partying, drug use and car sex."

Early Wednesday around 1 a.m., Eagle Rock resident Herb West was awakened by the sound of fire truck sirens. West, who lives on W. Avenue 40, close to Round Top Drive, looked out of his house and saw fire engine lights flashing in the vicinity of the 2 freeway nearby.

“I thought it must be a car accident,” said West, who’s a professional photographer. “But at 1 o’clock in the morning I wasn’t too excited to check out what was going on.”

Later in the morning, however, West grabbed his camera and went to the scene of the previous night’s commotion, which happened to be under a bridge through which Round Top Drive weaves westward under the 2 freeway.

When he got there, he found the charred remains of a pick-up truck that had evidently caught fire. Strewn around the vehicle was an abandoned mattress and trash that ranged from fast food boxes and electronic items to a six-pack case of beer and plastic containers in which medical marijuana is dispensed. (See photos above.)

'Parking, Partying, Drug Use And Car Sex'

“This place is just a breeding ground for people who do bad things under the bridge,” West told Eagle Rock Patch, adding: “In the past few weeks, there has been lots of parking, partying, drug use and car sex in the area. It has been increasing over the last couple of months, it seems.”

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey confirmed that the LAFD got a call about the burning truck near the 4500 block of Round Top Drive at 12:32 a.m. and that several passersby or witnesses had called 911 about the fire.

When two fire trucks from LAFD Station 50 on Fletcher Drive arrived on the scene, firefighters saw the truck engulfed in flames, Humphrey said. The fire was put out quickly—and there were no injuries caused to anyone on the site, Humphrey said, adding that by 1 a.m. the LAFD had informed the Department of Transportation about the incident and requested that the truck be towed away. (At least as of noon on Wednesday, the truck was still there.)

Panoramic View—Marred by Trash

West and many of his neighbors, some pushing babies in strollers, walk up the hill leading from the sidewalk near the 2-freeway bridge. “Round Top Drive offers a great panoramic view once you get through the garbage at the bottom,” he said, adding, tongue-in-cheek:  “We consider the hike up to be the ‘poor man's Stairmaster’—great exercise, great view.”

West immediately emailed field deputies and other officials in the office of , who, he said, responded promptly. One of them, Nate Hayward—with whom West had been in touch regarding the public nuisance under the 2 freeway bridge—replied back, saying that he had driven by under the bridge just the previous afternoon and noticed trash along the sidewalk.

CD 14 Office Responds

In his email to West, Hayward said he would arrange for Street Services workers to clean up the trash and that he has also contacted LAPD’s Senior Lead Officer Craig Orange, who is in charge of public safety in Eagle Rock, to “get information about all calls for service relating to that area.”

Hayward said the CD 14 office has already submitted a request to the Department of Transportation to paint the curbside under the 2-freeway bridge in red color, as West had suggested, to keep vehicles from parking there at all hours.

Further, wrote Hayward in his email to West, “I would like to organize a community meeting within the next few weeks” as soon as information from the LAPD about public calls for services in the area becomes available.

Local September 21, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Talk talk talk ... if they just pulled the records of all the 311 and 911 calls about that area, it would have been enough to warrant some action. I was threatened by two bald headed young men before 5 PM yesterday, smoking pot in the very same area. Called 911, someone answers and puts me on hold for over 20 minutes. Cops never showed up. All just talk. The city does nothing. Just talk
Ajay Singh (Editor) September 22, 2011 at 12:40 AM
Hi, Local—thanks for your report and sorry to hear you were "threatened" (tell us more if you will). You do know that this particular under-the-bridge stretch of the freeway—and every business nearby gutsy enough to keep getting robbed while remaining open—is notorious for crime. Thanks, too, for pointing out the slips between the Talk and the Walk. But the LAPD is too thinly stretched for exhaustive-enough patrols—and by the time it responds to a crime, it's usually all over—in this particular case, the criminals vanish within seconds onto the 2 freeway. But notice, too, how a community that talks gets noticed. If Herb West had not taken these photos—and then *continued* with his complaints to the authorities, the official response chain might have been slower yet (in greasing the squeaky wheel, as it were). Finally, it would be interesting to see what kind of solutions—increased community monitoring among them—are proposed at the community meeting being planned in anticipation of the data about 911 and service calls that the CD 14 office has evidently requested from the LAPD. Stay tuned.
Local September 22, 2011 at 12:59 AM
Thanks AJ ... but I'm not talking about an isolated incident in where, I've called the police and nothing gets done. I've spoken to Officer Orange who explained to me about tight resources and the like. But the complete lack of response is another thing altogether. I've witnessed people having sex there in the middle of the day. I've seen people standing outside their cars, smoking dope and leaving their garbage there, drinking out in the open without impunity. I'm sure I'm not the only person that calls the police. Not once have I seen an arrest. Not once have I even heard of an arrest. Just an hour ago, I drove through the area on the way to the market. I saw the same car with the same guys smoking dope. I stopped and have their licence plate now. I'm going to report it shortly. How much do you want to bet, that even though I furnish the authorities with a licence plate number ... I will see the same two guys, smoking dope and making my neighborhood feel like a ghetto.
Hembru@aol.com September 22, 2011 at 05:54 AM
I live in district 13 on a street that has many problems. The city has been so unresponsive I am about ready to move to Glendale, Pasadena or some place where maybe the city might be interested in keeping good residents.
Ajay Singh (Editor) September 22, 2011 at 06:04 AM
I see what you mean, Local. A host of illegal activities—drinking in public etc.—but it must be pointed out that smoking dope isn't one of them, presuming these guys have permits. (In Glendale, on the other hand, the police on average seems to arrest at least one person every few weeks for drinking in public or lewd public behavior.)
Laurie West September 22, 2011 at 04:28 PM
I drove under the bridge this morning at 7:30 a.m. to take my son to school and there were already two cars parked on either side of the street. Both cars had people in them. I have lived in the area for 20 years and I have never seen a police car drive under that bridge. If we could just get the LAPD to drive past even once a day, that might make that particular area less appealing to these thugs. I'm tired of the trash, the dumping, the drugs and everything else. I gets worse by the day.
Sarah Bucolic September 22, 2011 at 04:50 PM
It's very sad but every day I lose more and more faith in the justice system. And with talking to other people I am learning there are a lot of people out there who do not trust the justice system period. I used to be a big believer that justice will prevail but now I am completely let down and now see why so many people don't trust the police. We live in a very sad world. Yes there are some good cops out there but doesn't seem like many.
Anita September 22, 2011 at 05:03 PM
I drive past there everyday on the way to my kids school and back. I saw the burned truck, I see people smoking there all the time, trash and what nots! Its about time our council person gets involved and 'cares' enough.
martin j vasquez jr September 24, 2011 at 02:32 AM
and city hall want more fees from us using ladwp to get them for what ? what happen to the fees that this crook take alway from us via ladwp to cover extra cops , now they tell us we have tight resources , why the lapd have 2 cops in each car , pasadena , burbank , geldale have one per car .
Local September 27, 2011 at 01:17 AM
AJ, as you can see, I'm not completely alone. And yes, I reported the licence plate. And no, nothing has been done. As to your comment "it must be pointed out that smoking dope isn't one of them" .... Is that actually true? Even if it is, isn't operating a vehicle under the influence of ANY substance that would affect a drivers ability to drive a vehicle (DWI, DUI) be enough? The amount of THC in the marijuana that's sold at these dispensaries have, at the least, twice the amount of THC. How many, with blood shot eyes, slurred speech and slowed motor skills would actually pass a field sobriety test? The legalization of marijuana does not constitute someone's freedom to consume said drugs in public. I love a good scotch, now and then, but I don't park in front of anyone's house drinking a bottle of my favorite 12 year old single malt
Local September 27, 2011 at 01:21 AM
one more thing, "In his email to West, Hayward said he would arrange for Street Services workers to clean up the trash " .... the trash is still there including the mattress that's been dumped there the same day the truck caught fire. This city takes my money and pockets it, and that's that.
Ajay Singh (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 02:05 AM
Local—as far as I know, the LAPD can do nothing to someone who has a medical marijuana permit and is seen smoking permit-certified dope, even in a public place such a street where there are no "No Smoking" signs. I'm not sure what the law is for being intoxicated while driving, an activity that I'm sure a lot of people who smoke medical marijuana indulge in.
Ajay Singh (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Local—thanks for the update about the trash. I'll let Herb know, who will probably convey the matter higher up.

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