Video of passenger car causing truck wreck leads to questioning

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 10/7/2015

Before Mike Shaw posted a link to the video, he knew it would go viral.

Shaw, a 1st Lt. in the Michigan State Police and public information officer, posted a dash cam video showing a white Chevrolet sedan pulling in front of a truck and trailer as both vehicles headed south on interstate 75 in Detroit at about 10:50 a.m. Monday. The wreck reportedly stopped traffic for hours near the Interstate 94 exit ramp.

The video shows the United Van Lines truck swerving to avoid hitting the car before losing control and heading left across two lanes on the highway. The truck hit a concrete barrier wall before toppling onto its right side and coming to a stop, the trailer crumpling from the collision.

The car kept driving.

“I kind of figured when I first saw the video it would go viral,” Shaw told Land Line in a phone interview. “It’s interesting; you really rarely ever get to see how a traffic crash happens so clearly. So we put it on social media last night knowing the individual involved probably was local.”

Aside from a few bumps and bruises, the truck driver walked away from the wreck without injury.

“He’s doing fine,” Shaw said.

Less than a day later, Michigan State Police say the video and social media led to a tip that has identified a suspect. Investigators were speaking to a suspect in the case Wednesday, though no charges had been filed, Shaw said.

The video of the wreck was captured by a GoPro camera on the dash of a different truck, Shaw said.

Because an increasing number of drivers use dash cams, Shaw said he expects to see more clear-cut evidence of hit and runs helping investigators in the future.

“That type of video evidence is always helpful,” he said. “We’ve had them in our patrol cars forever. Law enforcement officers on motorcycles and bicycles have body cameras now. It gives the jury and prosecutor opportunities to look at things form other perspectives besides witness statements and statements from police, though those are helpful also.”

Michigan State Police frequently educate the public about the limited mirror visibility truck drivers have behind trailers. Even so, Shaw pointed to the trucker’s quick thinking, which may have saved a life.

“With this video, you see the actions that the truck driver took probably saved the life of that automobile driver,” Shaw said. “If he had kept going ahead and not swerved, that car probably would have been caught up underneath the trailer and caused a fatality.”

“We’re very thankful for the public,” Shaw said Wednesday. “Without the public, we never would have been able to catch the individual and see how the crash occurred.”

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