MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A tailpipe became a missile Thursday afternoon when it flew through the air at 70 mph and pierced an SUV’s windshield on Interstate 35 E south.
The SUV’s driver, 24-year-old Jessica Gangl, of West St. Paul, wasn’t hurt, but she said the experience has her shaken up.
The tailpipe fell off a car around 4 p.m. just south of Yankee Doodle in Eagan as Gangl was driving to the gym.
“There was a car in the far right lane that hit something,” Gangl said. “And I watched [the tailpipe] flip in the air, and thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I hope it doesn’t hit me.'”
But it did. It smashed into the Gangl’s windshield, stopping not far from her face. She doesn’t remember that part.
“All I remember is pulling over to the side of the road, and having it in my windshield,” she said.
Gangl was covered in glass, but not physically hurt.
“I was definitely afraid to drive to work today,” she said. “I was white-knuckling it on my way in.”
The State Patrol told her if the tailpipe had hit her vehicle any harder, the outcome would have been markedly different.
Lt. Eric Roeske says the pipe either broke away from the underside of a vehicle, or fell of a truck that was hauling it. Either way, it’s serving as a reminder for people to make sure their vehicles are secure and fit to drive.
It’s also a reminder to stay aware when behind the wheel, Gangl said.
“Pay attention to the road,” she said. “You never know what could happen.”