2 hurt after giant pipe rolls off truck & smashes cars in La Mesa
LA MESA, Calif. (CNS) - A taxi driver and his fare narrowly escaped death today when a massive metal pipe rolled off a big rig traveling on a towering East County freeway overpass, plunged over the edge of the ramp and landed partially atop the cab, authorities said.
The accident occurred shortly before 9 a.m., when the truck hauling the roughly 8-foot-diameter pipe veered out of control on the connector from southbound State Route 125 to eastbound Interstate 8 in La Mesa and struck a barrier wall, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The impact caused the chains holding the huge tube onto the flatbed to break and send the pipe over the edge of the bridge and onto Grossmont Center Drive, some 75 feet below.
When the giant metal cylinder hit the roadway, it crushed the passenger side of the taxi, which was occupied by a 47-year-old cabbie and his 73-year-old fare, CHP public affairs Officer Brian Pennings told News 8.
"Fortunately, both the men have (superficial) visible injuries only - complaint(s) of pain," Pennings told the news station. "They were transported (to a hospital) with minor injuries."
The roughly 5,000-pound pipe was being transported to the San Vicente area to be used as a water conduit as part of a dam project, according to broadcast news accounts.
The driver of the truck may have lost control of his rig due to excessive speed, the CHP reported.