Flying Like a Cannonball


The boulder came flying at me like a cannonball, were my thoughts right after a large rock assaulted my car. This is what happened and how I made new friends at the California Highway Patrol.

When I recently drove from Texas to California for the holidays as well as my son’s wedding, I experienced an unexpected delay between Blyth and Indio, just east of Palm Springs.

While sauntering along in the number one lane at 74 mph, I had a small sports car between me and a big rig. We were all in the process of passing slower trucks in the number two lane.

I had about four car lengths separating my vehicle and the sports car. There were about two car lengths between the sports car and the big rig. When suddenly, and without warning, I saw a boulder the size of a bowling ball flying from the rear wheels of the tractor-trailer, over the sports car, and headed directly at my windshield.

“It was flying like a cannonball” is the best way to describe it. I had a nanosecond to duck to my left as it appeared to have enough velocity (maybe 55 mph) to penetrate my windshield.


The boulder smashed into my windshield while tires screeched as drivers hit their brakes to avoid what seemed like a sure collision. In a twisted bit of fate, the boulder ricocheted at an angle and skipped over the top of my roof. Yet not before doing significant damage to my car.


Amazingly, I pulled to the side of the road as other motorists continued on. No one else crashed or suffered the consequences of the flying missile.

So there I sat, hardly able to believe what just occurred as I stared at my shattered windshield and severely damaged roofline.


A short time later I made new friends from the California Highway Patrol. Although I was about 200 miles from the city I patrolled for 28 years, one of the CHP officers use to live in my jurisdiction when he worked the streets of Los Angeles.

We enjoyed a pleasant chat before moving down the road to my destination.


There is no moral to this story or deeper meaning to my dilemma other than being thankful I wasn’t riding my Harley. Nevertheless, it’s always nice to know uniformed officers are on duty 24 hours per day, seven days a week, regardless of your location and/or problem requiring assistance.

That’s it . . . just a simple thank you to all the cops on duty today! You’ll face far greater challenges than a motorist who took a boulder to the windshield. Moreover, most of your assistance will go unrecognized and unappreciated, but not by your friends at Law Enforcement Today.

– Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

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Jim McNeff

Jim McNeff is a partner and managing editor of Law Enforcement Today where he has worked since 2016. Previous to this he served in law enforcement for 31 years. He retired as a police lieutenant after 28 years with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California. Prior to that he served the 3902 Security Police Squadron in the United States Air Force, assigned to the 1st Air Command and Control Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) course, Leadership in Police Organizations. He’s authored two books, “The Spirit behind Badge 145” and “Justice Revealed.” His third book, “Jurisdiction,” is due to be released in early 2019.Jim has been married to his wife Jamie since 1983. They have three adult children and three grandchildren. You can contact him at editor@lawenforcementtoday.com and learn more about his ministry work at www.badge145.com. You can also follow him on Facebook at "Badge 145 - Trending Truth" or Twitter @jimmcneff.

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