ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Some people drive cars, others use bicycles or public transportation to get around. But as a person with a disability, Rhonda Craig travels around Abilene in her mobility scooter. The last thing she expected, though on her normal routine, was a piece of bridge concrete to hit her.

With her friend of 30 years, Roger Simpkins, by her side, the two said they were on their way to get groceries. They were just about to go under the North 10th bridge at the Winter’s Freeway when a piece of concrete fell from above.

“A piece about like this,” Craig described by making her hands fit the shape of a circle about three inches in diameter, “fell down and shattered in front of me, and it scared the flinglets out of me. I’m still shaking come to think about it.”

Rhonda Craig describes size of concrete falling from underpass

Craig told KTAB/KRBC she was able to move out of the way to avoid getting hit by the concrete, but she accidentally knocked down Simpkins in her path. The incident left him with a swollen toe.

“I didn’t know what was going on. All I knew is, I grabbed her by her arm and I’ve fallen,” said Simpkins.

The friends said they did the right thing next by informing law enforcement and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

“That’s a dangerous situation,” Craig warned. “School is fixing to start, kids are going to be crossing back and forth from that underpass. What’s going to happen if a big piece goes on top of a school bus?”

KTAB/KRBC reached out to the TxDOT – Abilene concerning the underpass. Our district’s spokesperson, Alaisha Montanez, said her team was unaware of the situation:

This is the first report of concern that we’ve received regarding this bridge. Neither my team or I have received any reports referencing this bridge before this email, so I am unsure with whom or how the citizen reported it,” Montanez wrote in response to our inquiry via email.

Regarding the concrete that was reported falling from the bridge, Montanez said, “Maintenance crews went out and addressed this area and chipped away the loose particles so no further concrete should fall. Again, the bridge is structurally adequate and safe for the traveling publicThe latest consultant inspection on this bridge was in April 2023 and the bridge is in safe condition for continued operation.”

While assuring the bridge’s structural integrity, Montanez said accidents like these absolutely can happen.

“Minor concrete spalls do typically occur on bridges of this age, especially with the materials we use during winter operations (saltwater brine), but maintenance regularly performs work on these throughout the year,” guaranteed Montanez.

Even though it happened to Craig and Simpkins, Craig said they are grateful they spoke up.

“I couldn’t live with myself if something didn’t happen, I got to speak up. Somebody has to,” Craig added.