Birthday Accident Hospitalizes Woman : College Dean Backs Truck Over Wife

Times Staff Writer

A woman was in serious condition Sunday after her husband accidentally backed his pickup truck over her during a celebration of her birthday in Northridge, authorities said.

Susan Corcoran, 47, suffered two collapsed lungs and eight broken ribs in the accident Saturday, according to authorities. She was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center after a group of friends and family lifted the 2 1/2-ton pickup truck off her.

“She squeezed my hand today, but she can’t speak because she’s on a respirator,” said her husband, Bill Corcoran, 49. “The doctors don’t know yet if she’ll be OK.”

Corcoran, an executive secretary, and her husband, dean of students at Cal State Fresno, were attending the birthday and Christmas Eve celebration Saturday night at the home of one of her brothers-in-law.


Shortly before midnight, Bill Corcoran was asked to move the truck from the driveway in the 8600 block of Balcom Avenue so one of the guests could leave, he said.

He was worried that he might back his pickup onto his brother’s newly seeded lawn, he said, so he asked his wife to watch and bang on the camper shell if he got too close.

But Susan Corcoran was wearing black high heels--"appropriate dress for a Christmas Eve party, but the wrong thing for directing traffic,” he said.

His wife apparently stumbled on the rain-slick driveway.


“I felt this rise under the wheel, and I thought I hit the curb,” he said. “Then everybody started hollering and I thought: ‘Something is wrong.’ ”

He stopped the truck and ran out to find his wife pinned under one of the wheels, he said. An ambulance arrived shortly after guests had lifted the truck off her, he said.

No charges were filed against Bill Corcoran, said Officer Mark Verdini of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division.

“It was just one of those freak accidents,” Verdini said.


Bill Corcoran gave his wife a gem-studded, gold pendant for her birthday, he said.