June 15, 1947
James E. Fronimos is a man of distinction… but who really wants to be known as the first man Pasadena cops ever booked for investigation of grand theft airplane and drunk flying?
Fronimos, 24, a student pilot with a scant two hours solo air time, decided to take a joyride in a Cub Cruiser he found parked at Montebello airfield around 1:30am. He picked the Cub because it was the only plane on the field with a self-starter. His intent was to circle the field a few times and bring her on home… but the inexperienced pilot’s circle developed an uncontrollable circumference, and soon he was running low on gas.
While in the air, Fronimos had moved from East L.A. to Pasadena, so when he brought her down, it was on the Arroyo Parkway, near California Street. Fortunately, he killed the ignition on the way down, thus only crumpling a wing and scratching up his face when he crashed into a light pole with a “hospital zone” sign on it, and not exploding.
Officers took Fronimos to the drunk tank and towed the plane to the wrecked auto yard at Ward & Son’s Garage.