Myself and another member that was home on leave from the military that was riding with me that evening were sitting at Red Road and 49th Street in the parking lot chatting with another member as we were just about ready to go home for the night.
The member riding with me (regretfully I do not remember his name) heard a plane flying overhead. He said it was a DC-10 by the distinctive sound it made. I looked up as the plane was passing on my side. I could see a faint outline and knew it wasn't a 747 which sounds similar. I looked again said that it wasn't a DC-10 that was a L-1011 as it had a rotating light on the belly and the DC-10 had strobe lights.
The other member we were talking to headed home. I was taking my partner home when we got a call on the CB radio from the other member saying to turn on the car radio. I turn on WKAT (country station) and they were reporting the possible crash of a commercial airliner.
We got in contact with one of our members that was also a Hialeah Police officer. Our volunteer group had a room in the police station with direct communication with the police/fire dispatchers. He opened the office up and started a communication center. As many of the volunteers in our group that could be reached came out and manned major intersections around Hialeah. Like Palmetto Expressway and 49th Street leading to Palmetto General, Red Road and 49th Street, Palm Ave and 49th Street and East 4th and 49th. I was posted at East 4th and 32nd Street.
We would stop traffic in all directions if we saw lights or heard a siren approaching. I was something standing in the middle of an intersection and have a police car go by at well over 100 mph only a few inches from you.
These police cars (Hialeah, Dade County Public Safety Department now Miami-Dade Police Department) were transporting medical personnel and supplies to/from Hialeah Hospital, Palmetto General and the USCG base in Opa-Locka.
I remember seeing several units with their truck lids flapping in the breeze with blankets and folding stretchers inside.
Also several ambulances that were coming off the Coast Guard base going to the hospitals with the injured. I would say they were the less severely injured as there were also helicopters landing at helipads at the hospitals.
I know one officer that was shuttling doctors to Hialeah Hospital that I asked how fast he was going when he went by me and he said about 110 mph. He went on to relate that the unmarked detective unit he was in did not have a working air conditioner. He said they were traveling over 100 mph across 49th Street when one of the doctors opened a window for some air. The sudden change in pressure made the car shoot across the opposite side of the street. Luckily there was no oncoming traffic. But it scared one of the doctors enough that he messed himself. The officer just wanted to get to the hospital and get some fresh air.
We assisted for several hours. I finally had to go to work at Naples Airlines at the Miami Airport.
It was a very long night and one that I won't forget.