Desmond Nolan was taking his regular walk across a draw bridge in Hollywood just before Thanksgiving, when the gates suddenly opened, sending the 80-year old tumbling to his death.
But before he died, Nolan left a message that his family is now clinging to.
"I held on as long as I could," Nolan told a group of motorists who rushed to his aide that day.
Now his family is looking for justice.
"This never, ever, ever should have happened," said Pauline, Nolan's wife of 57 years. "I lost a wonderful husband to someone's negligence."
Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened that day and how Nolan found himself in the position of being on the bridge while it was opening up. He ended up falling 60 or more feet and suffered severe head injuries. He died later that night.
Nolan was wearing small iPod headphones during his walk, but the bridge operator never unleashed the whistle that usually signals the bridge is about to go up. The arm that normally comes down to stop pedestrians and motorists also never came down in the east bound lanes, although it was down in the westbound lanes, according to video footage of the incident.
In the footage, Nolan is seen walking at a steady pace onto the bridge and he makes it almost half way up the bridge before it slowly starts to creep up.
The bridge tender claims he did nothing wrong, but Nolan's family has already filed a lawsuit for negligence. The bridge is owned by the state Department of Transportation.
Motorists had to honk and waive at the operator before he realized Nolan was hanging onto the metal grates on the bridge for dear life.
"He couldn't hang on any longer," Pauline said.