BRIDGMAN, Mich. – Headed East on I-94, a 19-year-old driver hit a patch of ice and got sent on a scary ride in Saturday morning. The slippery spot shot the white pickup truck off a bridge, up a hill, back down the other side, and into a wooded area.
Trees finally stopped the truck after it traveled more than five hundred feet off the pavement, rolled three times, and tumbled nearly two hundred feet down a hill.
The Bridgman Police Department called Richard Lenardson, owner of Great Lakes Towing to get the truck out, “We got a call for a rolled over vehicle, Lake Street overpass.” Lenardson says he is very familiar with that location; he gets called out to that bridge about a hundred times each winter.
“It is a bad area over there ,” Lenardson said, “It’s not a small ditch it’s an awful long way down.”
The 19-year-old walked away from the crash with only minor injuries, several cuts and bruises. “I was surprised how good of shape he was in when I seen the vehicle.”
“Truck, car, you name it,” Lenardson said, “Lake Street overpass is one of the more dangerous stretches of I-94 in Berrien County.”
One of the highest bridges in the area, Lenardson said it’s the first to freeze and the last to thaw out. The lanes on the interstate are clear of snow, but the roads are still dangerous. Leonardson said, “There is always water there that can freeze back into ice no matter how much they salt it.”
The driver told police he set his truck cruise control at 70 mph when he hit the ice and officers at the scene said it did not look like the driver was speeding. That is the speed limit on I-94, but officers ticketed the 19-year-old for driving too fast for road conditions.
ABC-57 News asked an officer with the Bridgman Police Department how fast drivers should go in this kind of winter weather, he said it’s hard to say but advises people to drive at a speed their comfortable with and stay with the flow of traffic.