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Bizzare Fatal Accident Involving a '65 GTO

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mart3406, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    <table id="post4682793" class="tborder" width="100%" align="center" border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr valign="top"><td class="alt1" id="td_post_4682793" style="border-right: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229);"> <hr style="color: rgb(229, 229, 229); background-color: rgb(229, 229, 229);" size="1"> I came across this news story about a seemingly bizarre fatal accident invoking a '65 GTO. Does anybody have any ideas as what may have happened to cause this?


    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Police examining '65
    car after fatal accident
    in Derry

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    By Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    John Struble waited a long time to find the car of his dreams, a vehicle that may have had a fatal flaw.

    Mr. Struble was killed leaping from the car as it careened out of control Tuesday evening. The car was destroyed as it continued onto railroad tracks in Derry Borough, not far from Mr. Struble's home on East Street.

    Mr. Struble, who was 61, and his brother, James, grew up loving cars together in the Latrobe and Derry area..
    "He's always had body shops, whether for friends, for family or for himself. Throughout the years he's had different cars," said Stacey Rosa, John Struble's sister-in-law.

    The car, a now-classic 1965 Pontiac GTO, or Goat, "was special to him. It was his first car," Ms. Rosa said.

    He searched and shopped for some time to find a suitable GTO for restoration. Eventually, he came across one, in Ohio, and he brought it home Tuesday.

    Derry police Sgt. James Friscarella said Mr. Struble had just arrived home around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in his newly purchased vehicle. He was parking on the side of his East Street home when the car started moving while he still was behind the wheel.

    The car proceeded down Railroad Street, a small alley with a steep grade that intersects with East Street, Sgt. Friscarella said.

    Neighbors told police the car quickly picked up speed and Mr. Struble was frantically blowing the horn to warn any pedestrians.

    Near the bottom of the hill, the road grade flattened, and Mr. Struble took a chance to bail out of the moving car.

    When he jumped out the door, his head struck a planter, made of wooden railroad ties.

    The vehicle continued over a small hillside and into the path of an approaching train near the intersection of East Street and Third Avenue.

    The GTO was struck and severely damaged in the collision, police said.

    "I can't say for sure there were vehicle troubles, but our preliminary investigation shows that," Sgt. Friscarella said.

    "There's a reason why he left it. It appears that he decided best course of action would be to bail out of the car. Unfortunately, when he bailed, he struck his head."

    The incident still is under investigation by Derry police. Crash reconstruction specialists also are being called in to examine the scene and the car.

    "It was severely damaged. I hope it doesn't make the investigation inconclusive," Sgt. Friscarella said.

    The GTO had been a present from Mr. Struble to himself, his sister-in-law said. There is no doubt, she said, he would have restored it well.

    "He could fix anything in the whole world, let alone cars," Mrs. Rosa said. "But his expertise was in body work, restoration and things like that."

    Mr. Struble was well-liked in his community. He and his wife "were well-known for their love of family, friends, hobbies and motor homes and things. He'll very much be missed," Mrs. Rosa said.

    In addition to his brother, James of Blairsville, Mr. Struble is survived by his wife, Marilyn; two sons, Christopher of Virginia and Jay of Latrobe; and five grandchildren.

    Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. tomorrow at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home in Latrobe. Services will follow visitation, with burial in Unity Cemetery, Latrobe.

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    Joined: Apr 17, 2001
    Posts: 6,177


    Wow what a way to go .......... ;-(
  3. Model A John
    Joined: Apr 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,767

    Model A John
    from wichita ks

    Makes you wonder why he didn't shut off the ignition switch or shift into neutral. Panic is what killed him.
  4. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    I was thinking the exact same thing.


  5. swazzie
    Joined: Mar 30, 2004
    Posts: 940


    talk about a shitstorm of speculation .This has been left WIIIIDE open for the know it alls of this board.
  6. kkoacolonel
    Joined: Oct 27, 2005
    Posts: 964

    from Union,NJ

    That sucks!.Exactly,Swazzie.Now all the s-house lawyers come out!
  7. dustdevil
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 814

    from illinois

    That's sad news, two good friends in highschool had this happen to them but the throttle stuck and he got nervous and shut off the ignition and with the column locked sent them into a big culvert at 80 plus m.p.h. I don't think anyone can think rationally when something like this happens, there is always something you can think of afterwards to say that could of prevented it, but hopefully others won't have to be in that situation. My prayers go out to his family.
  8. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    bummer..probably the throttle stuck open and the panic set in, after you have this happen once in your life, you have the thought process down pat on how to deal with it..but the first time out of the gate its a fuckin night mare. both the man and the GTO
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,760


    Says the car needed to be restored, which means it probably had a lot of stuff not working properly. We've all seen it. Brakes, shifter, parking brakes, wiring, linkage, etc.

    Sad story.
  10. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,658

    R Frederick
    from illinois

    Planning my evacuation route now. I don't think that "Park" will catch while rolling. Throw it in reverse before considering bailing out.
  11. rodsnhawgs
    Joined: Oct 4, 2006
    Posts: 214

    from WV

    Terrible tragedy. My condolences to his friends and family.

    Re park, reverse, and ignition switch - who knows what conditions will dictate in any given situation - one thing most people forget...that's why it's called an "emergency" brake...
  12. spooler41
    Joined: Feb 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,099


    Sorry to hear about this,BTW,Pontiac didn't have a steering column lock in '65.

  13. Bigchuck
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 1,141

    from Austin, TX

    Those old cars are so unsafe. He should have been driving a new Toyota.:rolleyes:
  14. Lots of possible scenarios here. Sticky throttle, jams on the brakes, pops a line (single master cylinder), then he panics.

  15. Hot Turkey
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,237

    Hot Turkey

    I almost killed myself taking the key out of the ignition to unlock the glove box to get a cassette tape. The column locked, not a good idea at 70 mph, but that was when I wore a younger mans closes.
  16. Had the SAME thing happen in 1964 with my GTO...throttle stuck...turned the key off...
  17. mattybear
    Joined: Nov 19, 2009
    Posts: 70


    had that happen in my charger..turning key off didnt work and i was quickly getting to a speed where it was dangerous..i slipped it into neutral and let the motor go...was better than being in a wreck.
  18. the same thing happened 64 Nova 327 the motor mount broke, motor lifted pulling the throttle wide open (linkage was direct arod) the brakes couldn't hold shut it turned off ign. that is before they came out with safety mounts one that even if the rubber broke the metal parts would limit movement.
  19. One weird thing about '65 GTOs is the ign switch is on the far left side of the dash. That could have been a factor too. still, there is the gear selector, the p brake, steering.
    My prayers go out to his family and friends in this time of grieving. Gladly, he did not take anyone with him.

    Thur-Sun April 8-11, 2010 12th annual Pontiac Heaven Phoenix
    Sunday April 11, 2010 8th annual Nostalgic Show & Go! Phoenix
  20. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T

    65 GTO's didn't have column locks so it would have been easy to shut it off. Likes been said, panic.
    Back when I was growing up, almost ever one who drove like a squirrel (me included) broke motormounts and that usually stuck the throttle. Everyone knew how to deal with it.
    Larry T
  21. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,855


    Agreed. My dad had a motor mount drop in a '70 Chevy. The engine tilted and the throttle went WOT.

    This was a fairly common problem with the old solid rod linkages and the rubber motor mounts.
  22. falfas55
    Joined: Apr 21, 2004
    Posts: 288


    A sad day for both. Prayers sent to both family and friends.FALFA
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  23. tunes
    Joined: Oct 10, 2008
    Posts: 100


    Since he was going down a steep hill it seems more likely that his brakes failed and couldn't stop.
  24. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    Yep broken motor mounts were a bitch the first time it happens. I went with a chain to hold it down after that. Brakes is my guess. A friend had a 66 gto and the brakes went to the floor, he didn't have time to react before we got broadsided on my side. I was unhurt luckly, but the gto was trashed. Just seeing a single master on a street car still makes me think about it.
  25. I was thinking the same thing, brake failure, emergency cables seized, park will do nothing while rolling and didn't think to throw it in reverse (not sure I would have either) or maybe the transmission blew up and did nothing.

    Sucks all around, he might have been okay if hadn't hit his head like that.

    Wow, makes you think . . .
  26. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    All speculation aside (and it is just speculation at this point) a car guy lost his life. At this time of year it will be epecially hard on his family and friends. Think any of them will have a Merry Christmas?:(

  27. Didn't a Cop and his family die recently in a newer Toyota with a stuck gas pedal under the floor mat? I thought that same thing (turning the fucking key off and neutralling the shifter) could've saved a whole family.
  28. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    from Hypocrisy

    People freak out, they just can't handle the sudden onset of weird situations. Like I said before, I don't panic, I've had blow outs on a motorcycle, stuck throttles, broken shifters, all kinda things but I remain calm and deal with it.

    One time I lost steering entirely in my 62 Impala SS, the PS pump bracket broke and somehow jammed into the steering linkage and broke my rag joint, luckily I was aimed right at a median and drove up on it, I had my two year old daughter in the seat we all survived that day.
  29. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,798


    It was a Lexus I believe, and they have a pushbutton ignition that you have to hold in for 6 seconds or more to get the engine to turn off. The car was a loaner or a rental, apparently. 70 to 120 mph in that car only takes maybe 7 or 8 seconds, as you're frantically pushing the start button and the car is not turning off. Nothing is completely safe, unfortunately.
  30. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,059


    Words of wisdom. I had the throttle stick in my 55 F100 when I was 19 - in reverse - and ended up smashing into a house. I put the same motor into a 56 not realizing that the sticking problem was internal to the carb. While driving on the 16 lane 401 by Toronto, I mashed the throttle to pass and she stuck again. Deja vu kicked in and I turned off the key, pushed in the clutch and steered to the shoulder. I tossed the carb the next day. know what to do the SECOND time around. Unfortunately, the GTO guy didn't get a second chance. R.I.P.

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