SANDUSKY, Ohio– The intense power of Sunday’s storm was caught on camera as a gust of wind turned a tractor trailer over on its side.
It happened on the Thomas Edison Memorial Bridge that carries Route 2 over Sandusky Bay. It is considered one of the most dangerous bridges in Ohio, especially when high winds whip across the bay.
“Thomas Edison Bridge in particular has a history of incidents like we had yesterday due to we have several miles of unobstructed territory. And so it really picks up through there, there`s nothing to stop the wind,” Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Brett Gockstetter said.
A young couple was traveling behind a tractor trailer on the bridge on Sunday, as wind speeds exceeded 60 mph. They were recording at the time and as the semi flipped over on its side, were heard exclaiming, “Oh, there it goes! Call 911! Call 911!”
Several good Samaritans ran to check on the driver and were relieved to discover that he was not injured.
Investigators said it appears the truck driver from Caledonia, Michigan was trying to follow standard protocols for high wind warnings by slowing down and activating his four way flashers. He still underestimated the strength of the winds.
“Drivers are urged to use common sense when they have winds like that,” Lt. Gockstetter said. “To take maybe a possible different route, because when you have winds gust like that, and you`re having trouble driving, it`s probably not a good decision to go across one of the worst bridges in Ohio.”
At the time of the accident, the Ohio Turnpike Commission had declared a travel ban on the turnpike for tractor trailers and other vehicles susceptible to turning over in the high winds. ODOT did not take the same action on Route 2. As a result of the accident, ODOT is now considering changes in its policies on travel bans on bridges like the Thomas Edison.
The current policy is based on an average speed of winds over a period of 5 minutes.
“We were seeing really high gusts of wind that wouldn’t necessarily have fallen under the average because it wasn’t like a 5-minute gust. But we definitely know those gusts are impactful,” said ODOT District 2 spokesperson Rebecca Dangelo.
Troopers said it appears the truck driver did everything he could to avoid the rollover accident and he will not be cited.