No Good Deed...

NO GOOD DEED GOES......................
Lazy day shift working bus check with Wes S at the Greyhound Bus Station in Indio, California about 1970.  Wes was the City Patrol Supervisor filling in for agents on leave that left us shorthanded.  After noon we were notified that the Riverside County Sheriff's Office requested our assistance in locating an escaped prisoner.  We met with a deputy near the highway in the southeast part of town.  Seemed a prisoner being transported in the back of a caged car managed to slip out of handcuffs.  When the deputy unlocked the door, the prisoner shoved the door, knocking over the deputy and fled on foot southeast through town.  We were the last ones called. There were already forty plus officers and assets involved from the California Highway Patrol with their helicopter, Coachella PD and Indio PD with their two motorcycle officers.  They had been searching since mid-morning.  
The deputy pointed out that the escapee had come through a date grove west of us and the search area had now been moved southeast of us.  We asked the deputy to take us back to the last spot where the escapee had been seen and find out what kind of shoes the escapee was wearing.  Later,  he told us it was dress boots. We needed to see this guys actual tracks to try to pick up his trail, otherwise we would just be two more officers out there beating the bushes randomly.  He took us to the northwest corner of that date grove.  A woman resident of the adjacent trailer park pointed out where she had seen the escapee jump the fence into the grove.  We checked the area, nothing definite.  The north and west perimeter of the date grove had a six foot chain link fence with salt cedars planted on the inside up against the fence and a dirt road between the salt cedars and the grove.  Salt cedars grow thickest near the ground, are excellent hiding places and used to protect against wind and sand. 
Wes and I entered the date grove on foot from the east end and walked to the northwest corner area.  We checked for sign.  Looked like the Shriners had a parade and the Hells Angels broke it up just before the sand storm hit.  Seriously, it looked like all forty officers had searched that area, with the two Indio PD motorcycles roaring around every which way on and off the dirt road.  Then the helicopter came and dusted everything off.  If this guy entered this date grove at the northwest corner and crossed it;  maybe I could cut his trail towards the middle and be able to dog it out of there.  Wes was going to check around the salt cedars starting at the corner and at least 100 feet in either direction.  
I soon heard Wes yelling.  I looked up and he was pointing his weapon at the salt cedars very near the corner.  I ran over, crouched down and peered into the foliage.  I saw the man in the thickest part.  He crawled out.  After patting him down,  I whistled and waved my arm attracting the attention of the deputies at the east end of the grove.  Several came running, handcuffed the guy and with one deputy on either side holding his arm led him toward the end of the grove.  The closer we got the more deputies joined in.  Wes and I exited the grove behind a crowd.  A photo taken of this crowd exiting the date grove with the escapee was on the next day's front page of the Indio Daily News with the headline: CHP COPTER CAPTURES FUGITIVE! 
I told Wes I was shocked.  I had no idea he was working for the Highway Patrol.
Manny Cornejo