Ervin "Nick" Nichols was driving a truck south along the 5 Freeway when the Northridge Earthquake hit 20 years ago, causing a section of bridge to drop out in front of his rig. He barely managed to stop, mere inches from a more than 70 foot drop.
Officer Clarence Wayne Dean wasn’t as fortunate. He plunged to his death from a collapse in the interchange that now bears his name as a memorial.
Despite their drastically different outcomes that day, the men shared many similarities. Both were in their late-40s, both loved driving and both became instant icons of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake, their images broadcast across national news. KPCC's Jed Kim reports.