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CHP officers remember night of mudslide

Posted at 11:34 PM, Jan 09, 2019

On the anniversary of the Montecito Mudslide, two CHP officers are remembering the day it hit, when their patrol car was swept away in the debris.

Officers William Clotworthy and Michael Fabilla were driving down Olive Mill Road when they noticed something was wrong.

“I noticed the road looked different, like something wasn’t right about it,” said Fabilla. “I tried telling him slow down, slo down and all of a sudden it just hit us.”

Mud and debris quickly took over the car, forcing it to lose traction, it did a 360 degree turn with the officers inside.

Clotworthy said instincts immediately kicked in. They grabbed the mic and tried to tell dispatch what was happening but the signal wasn’t strong enough.

“I was trying to say hey we’re in a mudslide right now, we’re floating down Olive Mill Road,” Fabila said.

Eventually, their message got across. Dispatchers said they barely escaped.

Both officers returned to work after the incident, continuing on nearly 24 hours after their shift started.

One year later, they say it was a scary time but they would both put themselves in danger again to help the community they love.

“Being in a mudslide you kind of get the emotion of people that live out here as well,” said Fabila. “I still come out here and do what I can for the people of Santa Barbara.”