Holiday earthquakes: 'It was like a roller coaster ride'

Patty Talahongva

Two of the strongest earthquakes in 20 years hit Southern California

Two of the strongest earthquakes in 20 years hit southern California, first on the 4th of July and then the following day making for an extra long holiday weekend filled with frazzled nerves and hundreds of aftershocks.

Greg Williams, Crow, and his wife Christine, adopted Crow, live in Fresno and were at the L.A. Dodgers game when the second and more powerful quake hit. Above them was a concrete second tier and a bank of monitors. 

“I’d look at them,” she said, “and I noticed the camera was moving.” At that point she turned to her husband and said, “‘Honey, we’re having an earthquake.’ I saw it before we actually felt it.” Greg grabbed his cell phone and recorded a video.

“It was like we were in a roller coaster ride,” she said adding they felt their seats rumble and hoped, “it won’t last long.”

“We just kinda sat still,” she said. “We weren’t sure if it would happen again.” The players she says stopped for a few minutes and then resumed play and so they stayed to watch the game.

“Some said people ran to leave but we didn’t see anybody do that.”

Ironically they were home on the 4th of July and didn’t really feel that earthquake yet were keenly aware of the possibility of another quake happening as they drove to Los Angeles.

Christine Williams had experienced the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and she tried to warn her husband what an earthquake feels like when you’re driving. 

“It kinda feels like you wheels are flat,” she said. It was anything but flat to feel the power of the 7.1 quake at the game.

Yet, it wasn’t until a day later that a type of shock or fear set in. A trip to the mall led them to park in a garage and Greg said he felt claustrophobic and worried about being trapped under a pile of concrete if another quake hit. Still, they parked and went into the mall where a second wave of nerves hit him when they got into an elevator.

Even on their drive home on Sunday the couple felt several aftershocks. She says she looked on line and discovered that aftershocks are coming every few minutes.

That made the couple rethink their emergency plan. Right now they have a transistor radio, water, some canned food, a fire extinguisher, candles, and flashlights set aside to get them through an earthquake. “We are going to prepare more now,” says Greg Williams.

Once home they checked for damage. Only three baseball hats had fallen from hooks on the wall. And their sage and tobacco was still perched on the top of their entertainment center. 

ICT smartphone logo

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is the executive producer for Indian Country Today based in Phoenix. Email: or on Twitter: @witespider