Man who survived falling Chipotle sign: “I was really lucky, man”

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 4, 2016) – An Indianapolis man who was still in his car when a heavy Chipotle sign fell and crushed it says he now realizes how close he came to being killed.

“I was extremely lucky, man,” said Indianapolis resident Mike Ford.  “The timing, I think, really helped me.”

Ford says he had just parked his Honda Accord at the Chipotle restaurant on East 86th Street around 4:45 Saturday afternoon.  It was at a time when strong winds were causing damage and power outages across central Indiana.

Ford says he was leaning over to get out of the car when the sign came crashing down.

“Just kind of clicked my door to get out and just kind of grabbed the wheel to get out of the car,” he said.  “And next thing I knew I was on the pavement, and didn’t really know what happened.”

“Luckily I was ducking down,” Ford said.  “The impact was on the back of my head, so it kind of just pushed me out of the car.”

Moments later, Ford was bleeding from the back of his head, dazed, and walking into the Sprint store to ask for help.  Employees in the Sprint store called 911 to bring medical help for Ford.

“They were great, they really helped me,” Ford said.

At the time, Ford didn’t realize that a heavy brick and cinder block Chipotle sign had crushed his car while he was still in it.  He only realized that after Sprint store employees and others told him what had occurred.

Ford required five staples for the gash in the back of his head.  He was still receiving treatment for his injury Monday afternoon.

After seeing pictures and video of the damage to his car, Ford now agrees with several witnesses that if he had been sitting upright in his driver seat, he probably would have been killed by the falling sign.

“I just think about how I was fortunate to get out,” he said.  “So many different ways it could have gone wrong, verses maybe just one way went right in my circumstance.”

In one specific way, the situation could have been much worse.

Ford says he shares custody of his 8-year-old daughter, and last weekend would normally have been his weekend to have her.  If not for a special Spring Break trip, his daughter would have been in the car with him.

“Luckily on Spring Break, her mom took her to see her mom and dad (the girl’s grandparents),” Ford said.  “And that was the weekend I would have had her.”

“I didn’t think about that until on the way to the hospital,” he recalled.  “I just thought what could have possibly been.”

Ford did not comment on the possibility of any potential legal action against Chipotle.  But his attorney said they were investigating why the sign fell in the Saturday wind.


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