Within inches of death.
A 73-year-old who survived a 25-ton pipe that fell onto a taxi cab he was riding in, says he is thankful to be alive.
Bill Simpson called a cab and was headed back home to Alpine after his scheduled surgery at Grossmont hospital was cancelled.
It was about 9 a.m. when a the massive pipe came crashing down from an overpass Friday morning where State Route 125 meets Interstate 8.
“It happened so quickly I didn't know what was happening,” Simpson said from his hospital bed. “It weighed tons.”
The pipe fell 75 to 100 feet off the overpass and landed on the taxi with two people inside. Simpson was in the middle of the backseat.
“I think it missed me by inches,” he said.
The CHP says a truck driver was heading southbound on the 125 onto Interstate 8 when the truck nearly tipped over. The giant metal pipe it was carrying broke free, falling onto to La Mesa Boulevard -- shearing off one side of the cab, and cutting a three to four foot hole in the pavement.
“I didn't realize it until I got to the hospital and someone showed me a photo,” Simpson said. “And then I thought, ‘did I survive that’?”
He did indeed.
Simpson is suffering from some back pain, but otherwise is ok. The taxi cab driver is also ok, he was later discharged.
“I think I am a miracle getting through that accident and the cab driver also had a good fortune,” Simpson said. “I'm thankful to be alive and lucky.”
The CHP says witnesses told them the truck driver was speeding -- he was not cited – but an investigation is ongoing.
Simpson who teaches anatomy and physiology at National University hopes to be back teaching in January.