Truck driver killed after striking pedestrian bridge in Detroit

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Friday, September 26, 2014

The driver of a waste disposal truck is dead after a hydraulic lift in the raised position struck and pulled down a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Southfield Freeway in Detroit on Friday morning, Sept. 26. Police had not released the name of the driver but he worked for TLC Waste Disposal Services based in Romulus, Mich.

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw says the first 911 calls said a bridge had collapsed onto the roadway, but troopers did not know until they arrived that it was a pedestrian bridge that had come crashing down. No one was believed to have been on the bridge.

“What had occurred was a Dumpster-carrying vehicle had completed one of its runs and accidentally left the boom up on the back of the truck,” Shaw told “Land Line Now.”

“As the vehicle went underneath the Cathedral Avenue overpass, the boom hooked onto the bridge and pulled the bridge down onto the north and southbound lanes of the Southfield Freeway,” he said.

The speed limit on that portion of the freeway is 55 mph and Shaw said the pedestrian bridge had a 15-foot clearance above the freeway.

The bridge did not fall on the truck, Shaw said. He said the collision with the bridge had caused an abrupt slowdown and that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. The bridge collapsed behind the truck and the truck rolled a few more yards before coming to a stop.

“The driver was transported to a local hospital here and unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries,” Shaw said.

In a video of the crash scene posted by the Detroit Free Press, there appears to be no deployment or evidence of an airbag in the truck cab.

A passenger car was hit with debris but its driver sustained only minor injuries, according to reports.

The Michigan Department of Transportation was advising traffic to avoid the Southfield Freeway between Ford Road and Interstate 96 on Friday and to use Telegraph Road or I-75 as an alternate.

“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this story.

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