Monthly Archives: March 2013

Death of a Playmate

Playboy magazine's 1962 'Playmate of the Year,' Christa Speck Krofft, top left, has died of natural causes at the age of 70. Here she is with Hugh Hefner and five other Bunnies in the 1960s

That’s Speck on the top left (courtesy of Getty Images)

BEWARE: Mature content and photographs ahead!

I am very sad to report that on March 22, former 1962 Playboy “Playmate of the Year”—the beloved Christa Speck Krofft—died of natural causes at her home. She was 70 years old.

Speck, a native of Danzig, Germany, was working as a secretary at Bank of America when she was discovered by a magazine talent scout. A short time later, her path led to Hugh Hefner, and that’s when her career really took off.

If you were to ask Speck’s family about her experiences with Playboythey would tell you she was “one of the most celebrated Playmates of her time.” And you know what?

They wouldn’t be lying.

In September 1961, Speck was named “Playmate of the Month,” the first step towards “Playmate of the Year,” which came in 1962. She also worked in the Playboy Club in Chicago—the crown jewel of Hef’s after-hours joints at that time—lived in the Playboy mansion, and appeared in every behind-the-scenes-at-Hef’s spread the magazine ever published. Editors and readers even selected her as one of their ten favorite Playmates of the first decade. Check down below for some great pics!

Pretty impressive resume, don’t you think? But wait… there’s more.

In 1965, Speck married Marty Krofft, the television producer behind children’s shows like Land of the Lost and H.R. Pufnstuf.

Absolutely gorgeous... and in more ways than one (courtesy of the Krofft family)

Absolutely gorgeous… and in more ways than one (courtesy of the Krofft family)

Very cool.

Fans of the 1978 John Belushi classic Animal House may even recognize Speck because her centerfold can be seen there. Bear in mind that the film was supposed to take place in the early 1960’s.

As you can see, Christa Speck Krofft lived a pretty full life. And she will be missed by many, including Hugh Hefner.

“I’m saddened by the death of dear friend 1962 PMOY Christa Speck,” Hef related upon hearing of her passing. But no one said it better than her husband, daughters and grandchildren, who released the following statement:

“Mom had an uncanny ability to make everyone smile and touched so many people with her unique sense of humor. It’s rare to find a human being that holds no judgment and sees the good in everyone. That was our mom. We will miss her terribly.”

Amen to that. Farewell, Christa. And thanks for the memories.

As promised, here’s a gallery of Speck’s work. Please note that all photographs are the property of Playboy magazine. I wish I could claim credit for taking them, though. Damn photographers have all the fun. Enjoy!

To Rape No More

This face tormented victims for decades (courtesy of AP/Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office)

After 35 years on the lam, it looks like luck has finally run out for convicted serial rapist Gary Irving—otherwise known as Gregg Irving in Gorham, Maine, where the fugitive has been hiding for more than three decades.

Now 52, Irving was 18 when he was convicted of raping three women in Massachusetts. On one occasion, he held a young woman at knife-point and threatened to kill her if she didn’t comply with his demands. On another, Irving knocked a woman off her bicycle, dragged her into the woods and raped her repeatedly.

We’re talking about a real “salt of the earth” kind of guy here. And yes, I am being quite facetious. He’s trash.

What happened in that Norfolk County court in 1978 boggles the mind. The judge—the Honorable Robert Prince, I’m supposed to say—in his profound judgment (facetious) saw fit to grant Irving bail after he was found guilty of raping those women. In his mind, he was allowing Irving and his family time to prepare for what was to come, possibly a sentence of life in prison.

In reality, he was providing Irving with exactly what he wanted: a get out of jail free card.

Irving obviously skipped bail, took off and successfully reintegrated himself into society up north. And despite changing only his first name—to something like Gregg, which seems kind of obvious to me—the authorities never found him, at least not until recently. How in the hell did they miss that?

For years, Irving worked installing telephones in Gorham businesses. And during his absence, he was added to the Massachusetts Top 10 Most Wanted list and even appeared on such shows as Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted.

I guess the people of Gorham don’t watch much television. Otherwise you’d think someone would have recognized Irving after catching one of these programs.

Irving at the time of his arrest (courtesy of Reuters

Instead, he lived on and could have possibly repeated his criminal behavior in Maine. In the opinion of Louis Sabadini, the prosecutor in Irving’s original rape case, “rapists generally have a tendency to commit that crime over and over again, so I don’t know what he has been doing all those years.”

Just to be safe, the Maine police are reviewing unsolved rape cases to see if Irving could be connected to any of them. And based on what Sabadini said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were.

Fortunately, this predator is now safely behind bars in Portland. And this time, he’s being held without bail, which is a nice touch. Irving is also getting a weapons charge since police found a number of illegal firearms in his home.

In other words, he could be going away for a long, long time. The unfortunate thing, though, is that even if Irving gets a life sentence, it can never compare to the time he spent free.

Time he stole from three young women—and maybe more—I might add.

Checkups, Fillings and HIV?

If you were here, get the test! (courtesy of CBS News)

I tell you what. If I were a former patient of Tulsa, Oklahoma dentist W. Scott Harrington, I would be meeting with my lawyer right about now.

On March 20th, 64-year-old Harrington—an oral surgeon with more than 35 years of experience—was forced to surrender his dental license after investigators found evidence of all sorts of infractions.

I use the word infractions because that’s the term being tossed around in the media. A more suitable word would likely be crimes.

At the top of the list is a word you should never hear in association with health care and the field of medicine: contamination. The state’s dental board discovered multiple sterilization and cross-contamination issues in Harrington’s office. And health investigators are contacting roughly 7,000 former patients who may have been exposed to hepatitis and even HIV.

Not what you expect when you go to have your teeth cleaned, is it?

Investigators also found problems with the medicine being stored and supplied by Harrington. For starters, there was no inventory log for any of the drugs he used. Some of the drugs in his cabinets were long expired—the earliest dating as far back as 1993.  And Harrington also administered morphine to patients through 2012, even though his last recorded delivery of the drug was 2009!

What a jackass. But there’s more.

From what I understand, none of the dental assistants working in Harrington’s office had permits, which must have been nice since they probably had free access to any drugs in the cabinet, too.

Aside from the whole “I might be infected with hepatitis or HIV” thing—which is certainly the most disturbing part of all of this—I was also shocked to hear an account from a teenage boy who once visited Harrington to have some molars removed.

At one point during the procedure, the boy awoke to find himself more-or-less covered in blood. He freaked out, but was told to “shut up” and to keep holding the gauze in place.

And that’s not even the worst of it.

The next time this young man awoke, he was tied up on the floor. The staff would later claim that he became a problem and had to be restrained, but he knew the truth.

“I felt when I got out of there and went through all I went through,” he recounted later. “I felt they didn’t know much of what they were doing at all.”

Harrington back in the day (courtesy of FOX 6 NOW)

This poor guy went through a lot, to be sure, and now he’s got this hepatitis-HIV scare to worry about, too. What luck. If I were him, Harrington would definitely be hearing from my lawyer, as I mentioned before.

Investigations are still underway and people all over the state are being tested, at the state’s expense, I might add. Harrington faces 17 violations and could have his license revoked as a result, but I don’t think that even comes close to being a suitable punishment.

If you ask me, Harrington should face criminal charges for knowingly and willingly endangering the lives of his patients. We’re talking about a dentist—albeit a very bad dentist—with over 35 years of experience. If anyone thinks he wasn’t aware of his out-of-date drugs, dirty equipment and hack-job procedures, think again. This man received his license and had it regularly renewed, for goodness sake!

I don’t know what will happen, of course. And in all likelihood, Harrington will get only a slap on the wrist, at least from the medical establishment. But I tell you this: I hope the civil lawsuits from patients—especially those who actually contracted hepatitis or HIV from his office—come raining down and help guarantee this man never practices dentistry again.

The Eyes Have It

I can’t see, but I think I smell bacon (property of Blind Pig Records)

Latishia McClure works at a Conoco gas station and convenience store in Kansas City, Missouri. As you might imagine, it isn’t the most stimulating job in the world, but things got much more exciting for McClure on Thursday.

While taking a break, McClure noticed a strange box sitting on top of one of the trash cans near the pumps. Since she had little else to do before returning to the tedium behind the counter, she decided to investigate. The box was relatively nondescript—a little crushed and bent in places—but it seemed pretty harmless.

Imagine her surprise when she opened the box, peeked inside and saw a pair of eyeballs staring back at her!

“It was freaky walking out there to that box,” McClure said later. “I saw white and strings of blood and knew it couldn’t be fake.”

Gross.

McClure immediately called the cops, who started their investigation with the store’s surveillance video. Around 8:30 the night before, a blue Toyota with Nebraska plates pulled up to a pump and two men jumped out—one of them was holding the box.

The men tried to shove the box into the trash can, but it simply wouldn’t fit. So they did the only other thing they could do: they left it sitting on top, where McClure would discover it later.

Eye see you (courtesy of KNSS Radio)

And then they hauled ass. I’m not even sure they filled up before jetting.

Police contacted a local eye bank to see if any deliveries were expected, but officials there had nothing on record. Tests later revealed that these weren’t human eyes at all; they belonged to a pig.

I hate to think there’s a blind pig out there somewhere, bumping into the other pigs, missing out on slop. So sad.

Since there seemed to be no real crime committed—and since the only living creature to suffer was our sightless, porky friend—police have closed the investigation. It seems a little premature, if you ask me.

After all, there are still two wackos out there who get their jollies by transporting and abandoning pig eyes in public places. Shouldn’t that be cause for concern?

More Sandy Hook Facts Emerge

Adam Lanza in better days (courtesy of Vibe)

After Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 young children and 6 staff members last year, our nation finally focused on gun legislation and ways to prevent future shootings from occurring.

Unfortunately, the more than 50% of Americans who supported stricter gun laws at that time has dwindled to almost 40%. And instead of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the national conversation now seems centered on universal background checks for anyone who tries to purchase a firearm.

I suppose this is a start, but it certainly isn’t a solution.

In cases like the one involving Adam Lanza, background checks would serve no purpose because he did not use weapons that he purchased himself. The guns were bought legally by his mother, who then gave him access to them. Sure, parents are supposed to keep firearms locked up and out of reach of their children, but this obviously didn’t happen with Adam. Instead, his mother encouraged his interest in shooting, gave him access to her weapons and was eventually killed with one of them.

And since Adam also had some psychological issues, her actions are even more difficult to understand. But that’s not all.

According to documents recently released by police, Adam had a gun safe in his room—which I can only assume held weapons (since that is its intended purpose)—and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition were found in his home. Authorities also discovered a holiday card that included a check Adam could use to purchase his own firearm, a C183. And here’s the kicker: the card and check came from Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother.

Couple this with the fact that Adam loved Call of Dutya war-based video game, and red flags start popping up all over the place.

I once felt that Nancy Lanza was a victim—and part of me still does—but I can’t help but feel that she was also a major contributor to this horrible crime. After all, she taught her disturbed son to shoot, made weapons accessible to him, allowed him to keep a gun safe in his room and even gave him money to buy his own gun later.

The guns used by Lanza (courtesy of the NY Daily News)

Would Sandy Hook have happened if none of these things had occurred? I for one have my doubts.

Universal background checks will definitely help us rein in some of this gun violence—especially if the same rules apply to gun shows, where people can normally buy weapons as long as they have the cash—but much more will need to be done. The sad fact is that if someone wants a gun, there are plenty of ways for them to acquire one that don’t involve retailers, background checks and such.

The black market gun trade continues to thrive, of course. And if people don’t lock up their weapons, then criminals could easily break in and steal them. And not just criminals, at least in Adam Lanza’s case. Family and friends are just as likely to snap and do the same.

I hope we as a nation get much more serious about gun legislation and also work on extending our collective memory. It is completely unacceptable for us to forget about incidents like Sandy Hook and Aurora just because time has passed and the media have stopped focusing on them so much. All this does is open the door for more shootings.

And you better believe there’s someone out there planning for a future attack. I just hope we can take action before any more innocent people die.

The Invisible Man… For Real?

Could this be possible someday? (courtesy of Sodahead.com)

Whether or not it’s actually true, I have always considered myself to be a rather unique individual. And I can only assume most of you feel the same way about yourselves. At least I hope you do.

Of course, I am also a typical male in many ways, some positive and some negative. As such—and being such a devoted heterosexual—I enjoyed vivid sexual fantasies, especially during puberty. And there can be no fantasy greater than the one I assume most guys like me have enjoyed at one time or another: the fantasy of being invisible.

Not only that, but being invisible in the one place you are sure to see plenty of naked women: the girls’ locker room.

Bear in mind that I had this fantasy while I was also very young, so there shouldn’t be much of a creepy factor involved.

The unfortunate thing is that unless you live in the world of Harry Potter—complete with magic spells and invisibility cloaks—the odds of becoming invisible in real life are non-existent.

Or are they?

According to several physicists in Texas, the possibility of developing invisibility technology is slowly becoming a reality. And recent advances make invisibility much more possible in the future than ever before, which I for one find very exciting.

Now let’s see how effectively I can describe this new technology. I’m not much of a science guy, so please bear with me.

When we see something, what we’re actually seeing is the light bouncing off an object, entering our eyes, travelling to our brains and being interpreted there. And since light waves can be bent, refracted and reflected, invisibility technology would manipulate these waves so our eyes don’t pick up objects in space, rendering them invisible, at least in a virtual way.

It’s kind of like what magicians do with mirrors when they make things disappear, only with more of a scientific basis.

At the moment, physicists are limited in what they can make invisible and have focused on the manipulation of microwaves rather than light waves. However, this basic technology could someday morph into true invisibility, especially with regard to camouflage.

I have got to get me one of these! (courtesy of slamxhype.com)

Scientists have even been working on an invisibility cloak. And no, they don’t moonlight as professors at Hogwart’s, either.

The most recent cloak is made of some kind of polycarbonate, much like the kind found in DVDs. It incorporates a tight, checkered pattern that neutralizes the light waves bouncing off of it, thus making it invisible to the human eye. Unfortunately, only very small objects can be rendered invisible at the moment, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

As you might imagine, there are a number of ethical considerations to invisibility technology. We obviously can’t have a bunch of invisible people walking around, committing unseen crimes, fondling women on the street or otherwise wreaking havoc. And the implications for our military also raise some red flags. Just think how much damage an invisible tank or bomber could do to an enemy that can’t even see them.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that an invisibility cloak would also be perfect for that locker room fantasy I mentioned earlier. By the time one becomes available, though, I will either be that dirty old man or worse, I’ll be dead.

But I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope to see this technology developed in my lifetime. It didn’t seem possible before, but things are certainly looking up!

Sweet Child, Grisly Scene

Investigation: Police are looking into what killed the woman at this apartment in Union, New Jersey. Her body was found alongside her 4-year-old son who was still alive despite not eating for five days

Mill Run at Union Apartments (courtesy of usaukonline)

This past Tuesday, authorities in Union, New Jersey made a gruesome and disturbing discovery, but one with a rather sweet, sad twist.

They were called to the Mill Run at Union Apartments after tenants complained of a funky smell coming from one of the units. Police found the apartment and noticed that the door was open, but the chain lock was connected. After forcing the door open, they entered the unit and found that it wasn’t vacant.

There was a malnourished 4-year-old boy locked inside. And he had been there for almost a week.

Although there was plenty of food in the apartment, the poor little guy couldn’t reach it and was unable to open the refrigerator door. He was basically starving to death, but somehow managed to stay alert. Not only that, but he also found time to care for someone else.

Police found her in the bedroom. She was the boy’s mother and one thing was for certain: she had been dead for some time and was “in a state of decomposition,” according to the official statement.

And here’s what really tears me up about this story, even more than the horror of a child trapped in an apartment with a corpse.

“He was putting some type of lotion on her, but she was deceased,” Police Director Dan Zieser said later. “It’s very sad.”

And very sweet.

Catherine Martin with lotion (courtesy of Orion Pictures)

Although this story brought to mind Silence of the Lambs when I first heard it—“It puts the lotion on its skin”—I was also touched by how precious and caring this child was towards his mother.

Being so young, the boy obviously didn’t know she was dead and was doing what he thought would help… and while he was starving, no less. It really tugs at the heart-strings, don’t you think?

The good news is that this sweet young man was taken to a local hospital for treatment and should be fine, at least in terms of his physical condition. There could be some as-yet-unseen psychological effects in the years to come, but I’m optimistic. He’s so young that it’s likely he will forget about this in time.

As they say, time heals all wounds. And let’s hope that’s the case for this amazing child.

Reality Round-Up: To the Rescue Edition

Crime, murder, war, death, dismemberment, corruption, hate, discrimination, violence.

These are obviously examples of the evil to be found in the world around us. No matter how positive or upbeat a person is, watching newscasts and reading stories of darkness and depravity is enough to turn anyone’s half-full glass into a half-empty one.

And I am certainly no exception.

Fortunately, there are some stories that have the opposite effect and bring light into an otherwise darkening world. They may be few and far between, mind you, but they are out there.

As proof, I offer the following snippets from recent news stories that should serve to inspire rather than depress. They all focus on people who aren’t satisfied to simply live their lives at the expense of others. Instead, they see opportunities to help their fellow man and jump at the chance.

And believe me. We could all learn something from the examples they set.

Ryan Cornelissen, HERO (courtesy of R. Cornelissen)

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN

In March, 21-year-old Ryan Cornelissen was driving to the bank when he was flagged down by another driver near the town of Garfield. He immediately pulled over to see what the problem was and discovered that the man’s wife had just given birth.

And the baby wasn’t breathing.

Since the couple didn’t speak much English, Cornelissen called 911 and the dispatcher walked him through the correct procedure for infant CPR. Moments later, the newborn gasped for air and started to breathe normally. He is now being kept in the hospital for a few weeks, but by all accounts should be fine.

Not bad for a community college student, huh? Even better is the career path Cornelissen is pursuing: law enforcement.

It seems to be that if anyone would make a great cop, it would be him!

ARNOLD, MISSOURI

This next story doesn’t involve a single individual, but a group of people who moved quickly to save someone from certain death.

It happened last week when a woman driving through a busy intersection started to have a seizure. Kristin Martin and Zachery Green were sitting in their cars when it happened and didn’t hesitate to react. They immediately jumped out of their vehicles and ran after her.

When they realized they wouldn’t be able to stop the out-of-control car, Martin and Green flagged down Don Grimshaw, a high school principal who was driving a huge Ford truck. With no concern for himself or his own vehicle, Grimshaw took action.

“I got in front of her and just tried to match up speeds and stop the car with the truck,” he said later. “The car kind of went back up on two wheels and went back down for a second. I thought it was going to go over the [guard] rail but fortunately it didn’t.”

The car eventually came to a stop as first responders arrived on the scene. And it looks as if the woman who had the seizure is going to be fine.

When asked why he chose to step in, Green put it best and answered simply, “It’s just the right thing to do.”

Amen to that, my brother. I only wish everyone felt the same way.

STEVENS POINT, WISCONSIN

Officers Moss and Kramer (courtesy of WQOW)

Several weeks ago, Officer John Moss was on patrol when he received an emergency call from his dispatcher. Officials at a nearby high school reported that a 15-year-old student had left school and was headed for the Clark Street bridge, presumably to commit suicide.

When Moss arrived on the scene, he saw the young man climb over the rail and hang there, possibly trying to summon up the courage to jump. The officer tried to talk him down, but he just wasn’t going for it. Instead, he simply said “bye” and let go.

With reflexes like a jungle cat, Moss quickly grabbed the boy‘s arm and held him until backup arrived in the form of Officer Joe Kramer. He rushed over and helped Moss pull the boy over the rail to safety. And thanks to their quick thinking—and even quicker reaction time—it appears the disturbed young man will get the psychological help he needs.

The Stevens Point Police Department is planning to honor Moss and Kramer in a ceremony soon and many consider the men to be heroes. Only Moss isn’t one of them.

“Anyone in our department would do the same thing,” he said later. “We were just the ones that were there at the time.”

And thank goodness they were. Otherwise I would probably be writing about the teen’s suicide instead of his rescue. And there is no inspiration to be drawn from that.

EAST GREENWICH TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY

Rescuing anyone from a perilous and potentially deadly situation is amazing enough, but saving a child—especially one with obvious challenges—borders on the spectacular, if it doesn’t blow right past it.

Such a situation occurred recently in New Jersey when a 9-year-old autistic boy wandered away from his home and was reported missing. Officers soon arrived on the scene and joined family members and neighbors as they searched the area.

Eventually, the trail led them to Mantua Creek, a muddy mess on the other side of the trees behind the boy’s home. And when they found the boy’s shoes on the shore, things got even more desperate.

“In front of the sneakers all we saw were maybe seven or eight footprints that led out to the waterway,” explained Officer Phil Owens, one of the first responders. “And at that point my heart sunk.”

The boy’s father immediately started to call his name and within minutes, they heard him screaming. Almost two hours had passed since he first wandered off, but at least now they knew the boy was alive.

How long that would be the case was another story. Owens scanned the creek and fortunately, he caught sight of the missing child.

“All we saw at one point was just a small head bobbing back and forth and screaming,” Owens recounted later. “He was up to his neck in mud.”

And the tide was rising quickly.

This young man is lucky to be alive (courtesy of ABC News Local)

Without hesitation, Owens and a colleague, Canine Officer Adam Ziegler, threw caution to the wind and jumped into the muddy water, uniforms, guns and all. Moments later some additional officers arrived and, working together, they were able to pull the autistic boy free.

It was a challenge to get him to shore—the officers started sinking into the same mud that trapped the boy—but they eventually made it. The boy was rushed to the hospital as a precaution, but was cleared and released a short time later. And the residents of this small township couldn’t be more grateful.

“I think it’s great to know that we have people around here that’ll do stuff like that,” neighbor Adam Pitz said of his local police force.

I couldn’t agree more, Adam. And it’s nice to hear something positive about law enforcement for a change. The media focuses far too much on the few bad apples that give all cops a bad name. The truth is that most of them choose the profession for one very clear reason: to help.

Just ask Officers Owens and Ziegler if you don’t believe me.

So there you have it: four examples of good people coming to the rescue of total strangers in need. It brings to mind a quote I heard more than a decade ago: “Don’t leave for tomorrow the love you can give today.” This may not seem to apply until you consider the one thing that connects all of the heroes mentioned here: love for their fellow man.

And if you don’t have love, what do you have?

Buzz about Butt Billboards

This just cracks me up! (courtesy of KARE-11 TV)

I have always been a firm believer in truth in advertising, as some of my previous posts illustrate. However, some of the most creative advertising I have seen recently comes from a rather unlikely source: the Minnesota Department of Health.

In an effort to draw more attention to and increase awareness about colon health—as well as colon cancer—the MDH has posted some eye-catching billboards around the Twin Cities area. And residents can’t help but take notice.

Who wouldn’t notice an oversize plumber’s crack staring them in the face during their morning commute?

Some have questioned this new advertising strategy and a few have even deemed it offensive, but I disagree. According to recent statistics, more than 2,000 Minnesotans will receive a diagnosis of colon cancer and as many as 600-700 of them could eventually die from it, so this is an important issue.

Bend over for your health (courtesy of KARE-11 TV)

“We want people to be talking about this,” said MDH official and educator Laura Friedenberg. “It can be an awkward thing to talk about, but hopefully they will see these and get screened.”

They refers to anyone over 50 years of age, the starting point for regular colon check-ups. And yes, check-up actually means colonoscopy, a procedure most of us dread. At least I hope most of us dread it. I shudder to think there might be people out there who actually enjoy a deep anal probe, but to each his own (or her own, for that matter).

Kudos to the MDH for doing what is necessary to inform the public in a creative and memorable way. And I hope this innovative and edgy campaign actually yields positive results.

After all, when it comes to colon health, none of us can afford to get BEHIND.

Honor Thy Parent

Celia and her father (courtesy of Hispanically Speaking News)

I learned the importance of respecting my elders at a very young age. And despite their occasional refusal to indulge my every whim or to shower me with gifts, there were no adults I respected more—or loved more—than my parents. I can only hope that most kids feel the same way.

Actually, I know of at least one other who definitely does. Her name is Celia and she is a 9-year-old girl from Los Angeles County in California. And on Sunday night, the love and respect she has for her father came shining through.

The pair was returning from a friend’s house and driving down the darkened Sierra Highway near Acton around 1 a.m. For whatever reason—perhaps due to alcohol—Celia’s father never saw the sharp curve ahead of them. Their Ford Escape careened off the road, rolled several times down a 200-foot embankment and came to rest upside down in the ravine below.

While her father lay unconscious, his young daughter got herself loose and crawled out of the wreck. She smelled gasoline and—amazingly, I might add—knew to turn off the engine before going for help. And her task wasn’t an easy one, either. The desert at night can get pitch black and given the terrain, you just never know where that next step will take you.

Just ask California Highway Patrol Sergeant Tom Lackey, a real-life CHiP who knows the area well.

“She walked quite a distance in a very, very threatening environment,” he later said of the brave young lady. “It’s very black out there, very dark. It’s very steep and it’s brushy and there’s also coyotes in the background.”

Yikes! I forgot about coyotes!

Eventually, Celia saw a light in the distance and started for it. She discovered a home but when she knocked, no one answered. So she made her way back to the crash, checked on her father and resorted to Plan B: climbing up the embankment to the road above her.

Celia is expected to make a full recovery (courtesy of CBS/KCAL-TV)

A treacherous trip later, Celia made it and headed for the only other light she could see, which was coming from a rail station more than a mile away. Once there, she was able to flag someone down who immediately contacted the authorities. By the time they reached the scene of the accident, though, it was too late.

The girl’s father, Alejandro Renteria, was dead. He was 35 years old.

The good news is that this incredible child suffered only minor cuts and bruises and should be fine—physically, at least. She will still have to come to terms with the loss of her father—thankfully, she is already surrounded by family and friends—but at least she can take comfort in knowing that because of her efforts, he at least had a chance of survival.

And even though he isn’t here any more, there can be little doubt that he would be extremely proud of his daughter. Who wouldn’t be?

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