December 15, 2018, Placerville, CA - Depressing was the word most used by Diamond Springs-El Dorado firefighters who worked for 1 1/2 hours to remove the body of sheriff's officer Michael Cole from his mangled patrol car. The car was "so wrapped around (Cole), that is took 20 minutes of work just to touch him," said Capt. Scott Wylie of Diamond Springs-El Dorado.
Two former El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies have confirmed they felt they were in danger due to unsafe floor mats in their patrol car — the same mats that the family and friends of an officer who died in a 1991 crash blame for his death. They blame the floor mat that they believe was too heavy, too unwieldy and never should have been part of the patrol unit.
Most types of floor mats can be held down with car mat fasteners. The mat was shoved up and jamming the gas pedal. A friend is leading the effort to clear his buddy’s name, telling the newspaper he wants Cole’s sons and grandchildren to know it was not Mike’s fault, despite what they have heard for years.
Last week two other former EDSO deputies, after reading that story, told of their own harrowing experiences while patrolling the county, each blaming the floor mats for their close calls. “It stopped just inches from the back of the tow truck. I remember the engine was still racing, until I turned it off. I do remember looking down to see the floor mat wedged under the accelerator and I had to physically remove it.” He didn’t realize how prevalent complaints about the mats had become. And the other officer: “It took me several seconds to realize what was going on, but I could see it was the floor mat holding it (accelerator) down,” he said.