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.”

Comments (25)
  1. Liquid Nails says:

    This problem will never end, because there are no inspections anymore.
    They were a hassle, but kept people from driving unsafe junk.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      When were there mandatory vehicle safety inspections? I remember emissions tests. When were there more?

    2. R Cruz says:

      This problem will never end… Like it s a huge problem. There are tailpipes flying through the air on a daily basis! Ugh.. this problem will never end! lol

  2. not quite says:

    Maybe the pipe came off a truck’s cargo not directly off of a car. The emissions tests presumably would have failed a car with a broken tail pipe like this but they never were safety inspections as the progressive/shakedown/full employment act government states did.

  3. Journeyone says:

    For those of you who forgot what when the state had those emmission tests, it was NEW cars ONLY that were required to go to these. If you had an OLD BEATER you did not have to go the inspections. This is why that program failed.

    1. missy says:

      Actually, I have a distinct memory of taking my “I-just-spent-4 years-in-college-and-can-only-afford-this-piece-of-junk-car” to have it’s emissions tested. It barely passed. It was a great ole’ car; the driver-side window didn’t work so I drove through drive-thru lanes backwards. Thanks for the fun flash-back. That was back in 98′.

  4. missy says:

    oh, and I’m really glad no one got hurt this time.

    1. steve says:


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