Once is an accident, twice is coincidence according to Ian Fleming, but it’s a different story when there are real human lives in jeopardy. One car falling off a parking garage could be chalked up to a spectacular accident. But when it happens twice within a year, at the same garage? Coincidence, sure – but something could have been done to prevent the second one, according to city inspectors.
If you’re an Austinite (or even just an avid follower of viral videos), you know the story of the 24-year-old driver who ended up in a Jurassic Park-esque situation in September 2016, his car dangling over the edge of a parking garage. The cables surrounding the floors of Littlefield Garage failed to prevent the car from driving over, and as the car plunged, the cables wrapped around the wheels. The 5,000-pound SUV dangled for over an hour as bystanders helped to rescue the driver.
Inspections Found Cable Barriers Inadequate
And on July 13, Cedar Park resident Christi Bowmer was parking on the 7th floor of Littlefield Garage. Reports suggest she mistakenly accelerated. Her BMW crashed through the cable barriers and she plummeted to the ground, striking another vehicle. Security cameras caught the dramatic finale of the accident. Footage of the accident is available online.
After the 2016 incident, city inspectors only looked at the cables on the 9th floor for problems. And despite assurances from a certified engineer, these cables remain defective. A more complete review of the facility after Bowmer’s accident found no one fixed the cables. In fact, several areas of the cable railings failed to even meet 1976 code standards. Loose cables appeared in several places in the garage; one might find it difficult to think these kinds of accidents are not foreseeable.
Once is an accident, twice is coincidence and if another incident occurs, well, to finish the Fleming quote, the third is an enemy action.