No damage as pie shop hero jumps into runaway truck rolling through 12th/Madison intersection

Today in “could’ve gone much worse,” an empty tan pickup truck rolled through the intersection of 12th and Madison. An onlooker managed to help save the day by catching up with the truck and guiding it, backwards, to safety, an SPD officer at the scene tells CHS.

“No property damages, nobody was hurt, pretty much the best case scenario,” the officer said.


A person inside nearby High 5 Pie had a “wait a minute” moment as they watched the truck rolling by the window storefront, according to an SPD officer. The person ran out of the shop, and managed to jump in the unlocked truck (See below for details!) as it rolled by, steering it backwards safely through the intersection and guiding it to a parking spot across the street by Cafe Presse

According to reports from the owner of the truck and an on-scene SPD officer, the vehicle was parked around 11:00 a.m. near High 5 Pie. The owner of the truck said she “must’ve forgotten the parking brake” because the car began to slowly roll backwards down 12th Avenue about five minutes later. The owner was unaware her truck had escaped as she shopped across the street.

“I walked out of Pacific Supply Co. and went, ‘where the hell did my car go?'” the owner said, “I’m just glad it didn’t get towed.”

The owner was cited by SPD for endangering public safety.  

Thanks to Frances Dinger for the tip.

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16 thoughts on “No damage as pie shop hero jumps into runaway truck rolling through 12th/Madison intersection

  1. My reaction as well. He very well could have killed somebody.
    Hey dude, the words you were looking for are “I’m just glad nobody got hurt”.

  2. Actually, I was one of the people to help stop the vehicle. The truck was locked, so neither of us could hop in the vehicle. I ran behind the vehicle to slow it down after I saw the guy from the pie shop run after the truck and realized it was empty. He signaled a driver who was approaching in the northbound left turn lane to stop, and we were able to stop the vehicle before it hit the car.

    I thought the guy from the pie shop was the owner at first, but after we stopped the vehicle, he told me he wasn’t the owner and the truck was locked. Another guy joined us and we backed the vehicle up to the curb on the west side of 12th, south of Madison. The police arrived just a minute later as I was looking for the non-emergency number to call them, so then I left my name and number and headed to my meeting.

    We did get quite a cheer from the folks at Cafe Presse though! Kudos to the first guy from the High 5 Pies – if I hadn’t seen him running after the truck, I wouldn’t have seen that the truck was without a driver until after it would have been too late.

  3. Oh, come on. You just assume the owner was worried about being towed *after* learning that their truck had rolled away. I read this to mean she walked outside, saw the vehicle was missing, and thought “Oh no, my truck got towed!” And to her relief, discovered that it hadn’t.

    Totally separate from any remorse or concern about the consequences of failing to set the parking brake.

  4. And about an hour before this truck incident, I was in my car at the red light at 12th waiting for the light to change, watching traffic on Madison pass in front of me, when I saw a skateboarder zip by in the right lane of Madison heading westbound, crouched down and ZIPPING along. Must have gotten some great momentum coming down the hill alongside High 5 pie…

  5. I was sitting on the patio at Cafe Presse and watched this all unfold. Great detailed description of the incident. And, yep, my husband and I were one of the folks who thanked you with a cheer!

  6. So, along with Ryan, above, I am the other guy who stopped the truck. Honestly, it was not a big deal. To answer the question above, there probably is at least a 10% grade. The truck was literally rolling at walking speed. It was moving southward, and as I & my friend sat in the window of the pie shop, she was talking and suddenly started saying “truck” and pointing out of the window. She finally said, “truck rolling backwards without driver!” she jumped up to get the man at the counter to call 911.
    At first, it looked like it would stop, but then not. All the cars probably watched in disbelief, not moving as the car rolled through green changing to red. It took a slow angle & I saw the other traffic coming from the other direction. I’m a control freak, so I took the opportunity to run out in traffic and signal the cross traffic to stop…no one could see that it was an empty car that easily.
    As I caught up to it on the other side of the intersection, I saw Ryan run out to help, and then this fool started coming up on the rear of the truck. They just stopped there and I started to yell to back up, to no avail. I secretly hoped that it would hit the sedan so that I could stop worrying about it. It would have been no more than a small fender bender. But I saw Ryan and I grabbed the side-mirror and held it tight.
    Listen, I was in Crocs, and I am a buck-fifty. So when I say that it was no big deal, you can believe it wasnt. Ryan & I didnt know what to do, so I said that we should just take the line it was on and back it up to the opposite curb. Then the cops showed, and that was really it.

  7. It started on the east curb, north of the intersection, rolling southXsoutheast, barely. when i stopped the car on the southside of the intersection, it was still on the eastside of teh street in the left-hand turn lane.