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Heard on the radio

Just before 10 p.m. I headed out to get a mocha in Ferndale. We've had overnight fog for the last couple of days, and fog was starting to build again. I turned the radio on just in time to hear a traffic and weather report on the all-news station. The reporter was beginning to report on a fender-bender on I-94 in Dearborn that just appeared on one of the traffic cameras in his office. (Cameras are installed at several dozen points in the freeway system, transmitting back to a central office so they can be monitored.) The traffic reporter noted with some anxiety that one of the drivers was out of his car and looking "not quite stable" -- when suddenly he went "OH MY GOD a semi just hit him!" He and the main anchor, both very rattled, tried to convey that the accident would close down the freeway and where to exit to avoid it, but they had to go to the 10:00 network news.

I shut off the radio. It was all very disturbing to me. It happened while I heard it! I drove to Ferndale in silence. Five minutes later, as I got close to the coffeehouse, I turned the radio back on, curious to hear any further developments. It was their lead local news item, not surprisingly. The traffic reporter, a little more composed, said that the semi had flipped over. The driver who was struck seemed to be still alive, and a medical helicopter was on its way. That would likely close the freeway.

An hour and a half later, the freeway was back open, but only one lane of it, and they were still investigating and cleaning up from the accident. I don't think there was any report on the cause of the big accident yet (fog, speed, or what) or the fate of any of the drivers. There'll probably be a complete story tomorrow.

It's still freaky. Mind, I was between 10 and 15 miles away; I just heard it on the radio.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
altivo
Nov. 25th, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
That must have been some hefty driver if a semi flipped over from hitting him.

Nasty sounding incident, though, and all too common. People just will not slow down when conditions warrant. Snow, rain, ice, fog... They just keep going, usually at speeds exceeding the normal legal limit by ten to fifteen miles per hour, and then act all innocent and surprised when something like this happens. "Well no one ever told me that I should slow down when I can't see far enough ahead. Who would have thought of that? Guess I'll sue the road designers, the state, the county, the other drivers, and the manufacturer of my vehicle..."
songdogmi
Nov. 25th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
The truck driver hit the car and the motorist, then flipped. The truck driver was killed -- but the guy who was out of his car is still alive (though in critical condition).

Here's the story as of this morning: http://wwj.com/pages/131635.php?contentType=4&contentId=246917 . It still doesn't say whether speed or carelessness was a factor. You're right, of course, that drivers always seem to overdo it especially if the weather conditions are iffy. If I remember there's a big curve in the freeway near where the accident happened.
altivo
Nov. 25th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
Truck drivers are often the worst in this particular scenario. Their viewpoint from up higher seems to give them a false sense of security about visibility and their weight makes them think they are immune to road surface conditions. Unfortunately when one of them loses control or fails to anticipate a problem, the results are often much more devastating as well.

We also have a terrible problem with owning/operating companies that set schedules for the truckers that can't be met without violating rules about the number of hours or miles in a day, or breaking speed limits. Of course, they deny responsibility and say they don't condone law-breaking or carelessness, yet the driver has no choice if he wants to keep his job. This really stinks and is a typical corporate America situation.
jjfmi
Nov. 25th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
And they say there's nothing exciting to be heard on commercial radio anymore...

Seriously, I hope the guy's OK. This kind of excitement can always be done without. It's gotta be freaky to hear stuff like that happening.... AS it happens. Granted, the last time I listened to the radio as "news was happening" was the morning of 9/11, and I'd rather not hear something like that again, either.
songdogmi
Nov. 25th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
Getting the 9/11 story live as it happened was definitely freaky. This freeway wreck wasn't that bad, but it still surprised me how spooked it made me. I think part of it was that I was already kind of at heightened alert because of the descending fog in my neighborhood.

The latest news is that the guy who was hit by the truck is in critical condition, but that the truck driver was killed.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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