Adam Henry Pipien 05/15/93 Murder, Gunshot

Taxi Driver Found Slain On Hillside - Cabbie Working Overnight Shift Shot To Death; Car Parked At Chugach Entrance
By Hugh Curran, ADN 05/15/93

An Anchorage taxi driver was found shot to death in his cab on the upper Hillside on Friday morning, the Alaska State Troopers said.  Adam Henry Pipien, 42, was found slumped over the steering wheel of his Alaska Cab about 8:30 a.m.  The 1983 Oldsmobile 88 was parked at the end of Sultana Drive in front of a gate blocking the Upper Huffman entrance to Chugach State Park.

Troopers ruled the shooting a homicide after a Friday afternoon autopsy, spokesman Steve Wilhelmi said. There are no suspects in the case.

Troopers would not say where Pipien was shot or the number of times he was shot.  They did not release the caliber of weapon used, whether a weapon was found at the site, or whether any cash or valuables were stolen.  Troopers moved cab No. 89 to the state crime lab to search for clues.  Pipien had driven for Alaska Cab for the last 10 months, working the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift, company manager Guy Hibbert said.  Pipien was last heard from between 2:30 and 3 a.m. when he was told by an Alaska Cab dispatcher to pick up a rider at the Village Inn Pancake House on Dimond Boulevard.  Hibbert said the company does not record its calls or dispatches and did not know who requested the cab or where the passenger or passengers were to be taken.  Pipien was scheduled to end his shift shortly after the dispatch, Hibbert said.

"He said he was going to leave his shift early, around 3 a.m. or 3:30 a.m., so he could go fishing with friends," Hibbert said.  "When he didn't show up at 6 a.m., we called the police."

Village Inn graveyard shift supervisor Wendy Thomas said she didn't see anyone entering a cab around the time Pipien was dispatched there.  "I didn't call a cab for anyone," Thomas said.  "There was nothing unusual during the shift. In fact, it was a really quiet night."

Pipien's cab was spotted about 8:30 a.m., when Nancy Pile opened her bedroom drapes.  The cab was parked a few hundred yards from her home, at the closed Upper Huffman entrance to Chugach State Park. Pile's home is the last on Sultana Drive before the entrance.

The gates are open only in the winter to allow snowmachiners access to the park, officials said.  Summer access to picnic sites in that area of the park is by permit only.  This is the first summer the gates have been closed.

"As a member of Park Watch, I knew the cab shouldn't have been there," Pile said.

Park Watch consists of volunteers who call troopers or police if loud parties or vandalism occurs within the park.  The Upper Huffman park area has been popular with partying young people.

"I drove up beside the cab and saw the driver slumped over the wheel," Pile said.  "I saw blood dripping from the bottom of the driver's door onto the pavement.  I was a little scared and didn't touch anything.  I went right back to the house and called police."

Pile said the first troopers arriving at the scene said Pipien had been shot in the back of the head.

Other neighbors said they hadn't heard or seen anything out of the ordinary early Friday morning.

Pipien lived in a one-bedroom apartment off West Northern Lights Boulevard.  His roommate, Glenn Pebley, said Pipien was a quiet, intelligent Polish immigrant who moved to Alaska from Buffalo, N.Y.  On a 1992 fishing license, Pipien said he had lived in Alaska 13 years.

"He was very laid back, very intelligent, read a lot," Pebley said.

Pipien's bedroom was filled with science fiction books and Omni magazines.  Lying next to his bed was Plato's Republic and a book by Woody Allen.  A plastic American flag hung in the living room.

Pipien allowed Pebley to stay on the couch in his apartment in January after Pebley was evicted from a downstairs apartment.

Pebley said Pipien did not own the cab and usually rode a bus to and from work.  He said that Pipien was divorced with two children who live with their mother in Buffalo and that he has a sister who lives in Anchorage.  "He loved to fish, he loved to pan for gold," Pebley said.  "He hoped to take a couple months off this summer and go gold panning."

Daily News reporter Sheila Toomey contributed to this story.