An immediately famous bit of video shot on the Bay Bridge in the moments after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake showed two cars driving on the damaged eastern span, with one, a sedan, dropping into the gap created when a 50-foot segment of the upper deck collapsed.
The other car, a pickup truck, can be seen making a quick stop as its driver realizes the road drops off, just a second after the other car disappeared from view.
SFist reader Jim Wheaton wrote in to say that he was, in fact, the driver of that pickup truck, and he learned of the video later that night when a client in Los Angeles told him he'd seen it on television.
"Still have the truck," Wheaton says.
The video, which you can see below, was shot by some "Oklahoma tourists," Wheaton says.
Here's Wheaton's account:
I was driving from my office in SF to home in Oakland to watch the game. I got caught in the traffic jam on the lower (eastbound) deck. Eventually we were funneled onto Yerba Buena Island, where we took the upper deck off ramp up to the upper deck. At that point we had *no idea* the bridge was broken (this is pre-cell phones and the radio was only reporting from the ballpark). When I got to the upper deck I said screw this, I'm not going back into SF, I'm gonna take the truck and my first aid equipment and see if I can help anyone on the way to Oakland. As I drove (fearfully, cuz I was heading eastbound on the upper deck fearing a wall of cars coming at me at any minute) the little car came from behind me, passed, and accelerated into the hole. I stopped juuuuuust short.
I eventually turned around and drove back into SF. Which is a whole 'nother set of calamities and stories. I made it home that night by crossing the Golden Gate and Richmond bridges. I found out that this video existed because I was talking to a client in LA at midnight and he saw it.
The car that disappears was the 1980 Mercury Zephyr described in the CHP video we posted yesterday, and Wheaton's account gives us some clearer context for why it was traveling the wrong direction on the upper deck of the bridge. The car's front wheels became lodged in the broken upper deck, suspending the vehicle. The 23-year-old female driver of that car died, while a passenger, the driver's brother, survived because he was wearing a seatbelt.