The Bloody Cadillac
In the summer of 1973, my next door neighbor Dan, his wife Patty, and my wife and I decided to go to a dance in Versailles, Ohio at a place called that Crystal Ball.
We had a real great time that night at the dance as it was a bring your own bottle event, so I took along a bottle of sloe gin for the wife Barb, and a bottle of some other liquor for myself and Dan.
We had a wonderful time after dancing, talking and drinking the night away.
When we were leaving that night, Dan was in a great mood and about half crocked, I wouldn't say he was drunk, but he was feeling good, and I was feeling pretty good myself and was glad I wasn’t the one doing the driving. I got in the back seat with my wife Barb, and we proceeded to leave the parking lot.
As we were leaving, there were two or three guys and their women walking in the middle of the parking lot, Dan was coming up behind them and being half drunk began blowing the horn at them and just having a good time.
I guess Dan must have made a couple of the fellows mad by blowing the horn as they proceeded to approach the car on his side and tried to punch him, reaching thru the window of his car. Dan, being a pretty good size fellow just leaned over to avoid the punches, laughing even more.
I was in the backseat with Barb, and we were just sitting there laughing thinking everything was really cool, when all of a sudden the back door opens on my side of the car and this guy proceeds to reach in and grab hold of me and drag me out of the car.
At this particular time I had not said anything to him or anybody else. I had on a white dinner jacket and a violet colored shirt as this was the time of the disco style dancing.
The shirt had ruffles on the front and when this unknown assailant pulled me from the car, he tore the collar off my shirt, and pushed me on my hands and knee’s in the gravel parking lot.
They started beating me on the back of my head and shoulders for whatever reason, not knowing I had a sloe gin bottle with me when I came out of the car. When I was able to stand up, I clobbered the first guy nearest me right in the face with that bottle of sloe gin.
I guess I must have busted his nose pretty good as a lot of blood began to fly. The guy's girlfriend ran up to me, yelling in my face about her boyfriend, who was rolling around clutching his face bleeding all over everything.
I told the gal that if she wanted some of the same thing I gave her husband or boyfriend, she better get out of my face. Needless to say, everybody else took off when I hit the guy with the bottle.
Dan and I got back into the car and we proceed to leave when this guy jumps up and begins running alongside the car, punching the window trying to hit me while cursing and yelling.
Dan was driving maybe 5 miles an hour with this guy, running alongside the car punching the window, tripped and fell over his own feet and rolled head over heals injuring himself more than what he was before. Upon leaving the parking lot and on our way home, we passed an ambulance headed toward the Crystal Ball. I suspect they were arriving to aide the guy that I hit with the bottle or aid with the injuries he created to himself when he fell alongside the car. Anyhow, that was the story of the Bloody Cadillac came about. I took a picture of the car the next day. There was blood all over the side of the car. Dan and I washed the car and we never did hear anymore about the incident again. We never went back to the Crystal Ball after that. We thought that if you had to fight your way out of a place it just was not worth going to.
The Fire at the Bar
A short time after the Cadillac incident I was in Montgomery County, Ohio and working undercover at a bar on North Dixie Highway, called Angie's place and was sitting around with probably 30 or 40 people having a drink and talking with my friend Harold, who at the time was working with me with on construction jobs around the Dayton area during the day And I worked the bars at night. This created quite some problems with my wife at the time as she did not know why or what the hell I was doing at the time. I'm not sure she knew at this time that I was a police officer or not so I guess I’ll have to go back to my records to the date. But in the meantime we were sitting in this bar talking bullshit and other assorted stuff while being waited on by the waitress who’s the name of Fay.
Angie's bar was a gathering place for some of the guys that I was working with during the day and also a lot of people who thought they were just simply bad asses. All the while I was trying to gather information reference burglaries and other crimes that I could hear about, trying to make cases for crimes and stuff that were going on in Montgomery County at the time. I was working for or the Montgomery County prosecutors investigator Harlan Andrew's, who is deceased at this time but was a super nice person, and a great guy to work for. AS I continue this story, we were sitting in the bar at a table and I recall Harold getting into a arguing match with a big gentleman in the bar and they decided after arguing and yelling at each other for a little a bit that they was going to go outside behind the bar and duke it out. Harold, being a tall man and in good condition physically because of the work that we did proceeded to really punch this big bear of a man out as he circled him. This guy was so big that if he had got hold of Harold he probably would have just crushed the shit out of him but Herald just stood still and kept busting up this guys face punching him like a pro. Pretty soon somebody came running out and started yelling the police were coming. So by the time the police got there, everybody was back inside the bar and just talking and carrying on like nothing was going on at all. The big gentleman just got in his car and left the area I guess because I didn't see him after that.
I just remember that after we were back in the bar for about an hour or so, I noticed while looking at the ceiling that there was a lot of smoke just kind of rolling up against the ceiling. Nobody else seemed to notice this going on, and not wanting to the panic every body in the place I called Fay and politely told her the building was on fire and she should ask everyone to leave. She bluntly told me that I was crazy and that I should stop trying to create problems and quit pulling her leg, And I said, Fay I'm telling you the place is on fire, we need to get out of hear and got up as if to leave, This is when she looked at the ceiling and seen all this smoke, which by this time was a gathering quite badly and it was going from a lighter gray to a darker black smoke and they proceeded to scream and carry on like you wouldn't believe an every body was trampling over each other to get the hell out of the place. And finally every body did get out. The fire dept finally arrived and had the fire under control in a short time, but there was lots of water damage. The fire burned about half the roof off the building the water that came through the ceilings made a big mess of everything inside the place. I can't remember how long it took to rebuild it and get it put back together it seems like it was six or seven weeks but it did eventually open back up.
We found out later that someone had crawled up into the attic through the men's room where there was an access panel and had dumped oil or kerosene in the attic and tossed a match on it as it had soaked into the insulation. To this day I don't think they ever did figure out who was the person that started the fire. There was this firebug who hung out there all the time and I always thought it was him but could not remember seeing him in the bar that night. One night I recall somebody giving Herby .50 cents and a bottle of beer to burn this guy’s car that was sitting across the street. Now mind you this car was a 1959 Ford re-tractable hardtop Herby being the firebug that he was just preceded out of the building, And maybe 15 minutes later, everybody began yelling that there was a car on fire outside and everybody ran out of the building and looks at this 59 Ford that was just absolutely engulfed in flames from bumper to bumper and the fire department came down and put out the fire but the car was destroyed by that time. I can still remember seeing Herby standing on the corner just rubbed his hands like a sweet little kid watching the fire. So if I had seen him at the bar you could have bet that he was the one who set it on fire, and the did rule as arson. I never heard if they caught the person or not. Everybody in the bar that night thought it was a big joke. I don't think Herby did that, but I don't know for sure and others I spoke to later didn’t remember seeing him the night of the fire in the attic. Later on, my wife and her cousin Zelda were at another place in Dayton called the glass crutch when we met up with Herby some how.
We were sitting around this table drinking and Herby was just acting goofy as hell and pulled out a gun and proceeds to wave it around threatening to shoot me at the time, I guess he was just drunk or just stupid but I told them to put the thing away before I took it away from him and shoved it up his ass, at which time Herby put away the firearm got up from his chair and left.
I can't remember ever seeing Herby after that encounter, so I don't really know what happened to them, but I do remember at the end of that investigation, There was four or five guys was arrested and a bunch of firearms, hand grenades, and other assorted stolen goods and property was recovered from this house on Gettysburg Ave. It was quite a deal at the time and involved some police officers that were setting up the burglaries, because the local people would call in the police department and telling them they would be going on vacation and wanted their homes checked on occasion by the police. I was actually with them one night, when they burglarized a gentleman's house and I still remember them putting all of these coins, guns, watches and other jewelry in pillowcases. We went back to Gordon's house and dumped all the stuff on the bed and started separating the stuff. I still remember buying the gun, which was like a German Lugar from the guys and that was part of the evidence that I gave to Harlin on the case. After taking all the good stuff they wanted I went with them downtown and they shoved all the rest in the sewer drains down in Dayton someplace, and at the time I knew right where it was and that's what I told Harlon. And I believe after that they raided this guy’s house and arrested the people involved, I do recall going to Angies quite a bit with Gordon and his buddy Wayne and some of the other guys whose names I can’t recall. Barb, my girlfriend at the time was dancing with Gordon when his firearm fell out his pant leg onto the dance floor and Gordon politely backed up and said excuse me I dropped my heater, which was the first time, Barbara. Ever heard a firearm called a heater. During this investigation I worked with these guys on construction jobs around the Dayton.
I can still recall Gordon falling off a catwalk landing on top of his head, boy it was a good thing he had his hard hat on, it didn't really hurt to bad as he only missed a couple of days work, with a sprained neck I believe, The other guy Wayne I still don't know where he lived at the time I only know that he spent a lot of time at Gordon’s house and at Angies bar.
The 49 Ford
We lived in Pottstown, Pa where was a wild story because at the time the 49 Ford made its appearance, I had gotten out of the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey an had moved back to the small house trailer where my wife and I lived and another guy that was in the service with me by the name of Steve, I will leave his last name out at this time. Steve had got out of the service shortly after I did, maybe a couple or three months, at which time he had bought this 49 Ford from some gentlemen from Doylestown, Pennsylvania or in that area. When Steve decided to go back home, and if I'm not mistaken, he was from Seattle, Washington, He told me that he wasn't going to take the car back to Seattle that he was going to fly home. So he sold me the car for $50. I paid him for the car and got it properly tagged and then found out soon that the car had a spun rod bearing. I was preparing to repair the car and took it to my fathering laws home where there was a garage to work on it. My wife was at work and I was home working on getting the parts to repair the car, when there was a knock at the door and my friend Chuck was with the guy that Steve had purchased the car from, and another fellow. The guy told me that Steve did not pay him for the car and he wanted it back. Steve was already long gone back to Seattle so They proceeded to tell me they was going to take this car, which wasn't even at my place at the time as it was in my father in-laws garage being repaired because of the bad bearing and I told him I had a bill of sale and the title was in my name. He advised me that Steve had taken the car and did not pay him and he was going to kick my ass if I did not give him the car. That is when thinking Chuck would be on my side to even the odds I proceeded to tell him that was a bunch of crap because the car was going to remain right where it was unless he had my $50.00. They (including Chuck) proceeded to kick the crap out of me in my trailer. I still remember Chuck taking part of this deal, with these other two guys. They were just bigger than me, the one guy being a big blonde haired fellow, I can still remember him trying to break a pop bottle I believe was a Pepsi bottle on the edge of the sink in the house trailer and that metal strip that runs along the sink was just absolutely torn off the side of a sink. But he was unable to break the bottle (thank goodness) because I suspect he was going try to cut me up had he been able to get it broke. That did not happen so they just kicked the shit out of me. Kicking me in the ribs and telling me they'd be back and I better have the car there when they got back. Well I being the lawful owner of the car and a smart ass, I just went ahead about my life, and continued looking for the chance to get even for the ass kicking that I got. I was walking down the street; I believe it was in Doylestown or Pottstown Pennsylvania at the time. And I seen this blonde headed fellow and recognized him walking down the street in front of me,. I weighed about 180 pounds at the time, I just took off on a dead run as hard as I could run and when I came up behind the guy on a dead run I hit him right in the back of the head with my fist as hard as I could and keep on running. The last I remember was going around the corner, and seeing the fellow sprawled on the sidewalk. I don't know how bad he was hurt, and never stopped to find out. I doubt the fellow had a clue as to who hit him as I never seen him again. So I figured he must not have died as I did not read anything in the papers about it. There was a knock on my door at the trailer about three weeks later and I mean that whoever was knocking was pounding on the door, like you better open the damn door or I’ll kick it in. I peeked out the window and seen it was the other guy who was with the blond guy who had kicked my ass before. I opened the door of the trailer and immediately the guy was standing down about 2 foot lower than me as you know, you have to go up steps to get in the house trailer and I kicked the guy right in the face as hard as I could kick and then jumped out the trailer on top his chest. I can still remember him being hauled off by somebody in a car and I never seen him or the blonde ever again in my life. I did however get a visit about a week later from Chuck when he knocked on the door backed up from the trailer about 15 feet and stood there when I opened the door he proceeded to apologize and tell me that he was sorry for his part in the altercation, because the other two had led him to believe that the car was stolen. He didn't know that the car had been bought and sold to me or anything of the sort; he just thought they told him the truth and brought them to my place to get the car. And that was why he was involved in a situation. So I accepted his apology and Chuck and I actually became pretty close friends. Shortly after all this went down my folks came from Ohio, my dad helped me put the car back together and headed back for Ohio. On the trip back we were someplace near Pittsburg, Pa. We were traveling down the road and my father was driving at the time when a bee came in the window and my little brother was shooing the bee and my dad tried to help and took his eyes off the road and rear ended another car, I can still remember all the stuff coming off the top of the car landing on the hood of the car. My dad got out and him and the guy he had run into took stock of the damage, and I think my dad paid him in 50 or $75 for his bumper or whatever the damage was, we loaded everything back up on top of the car except for the baby bed as it being wood and was totally destroyed, we threw it in the ditch and proceeded on to Ohio.