By James Raia
How scary is winter driving? A melting snowbank and freezing conditions on a freeway ramp could have cost a Wisconsin truck driver his life on February 6.
A camera operated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation captured the truck’s crash on film, just after the driver, Richard Lee Oliver, 34, lost control.
The dramatic footage also documented a miracle. The red pickup truck plunged 70 feet after plowing into the snowbank and tumbling over the barrier.
Two drivers came to the man’s aid following the wreck on west I-94 just east of Interstate 41 in the Zoo Interchange. The single-vehicle accident victim was transported to a Milwaukee hospital by firefighters with non-life-threatening injuries.
Wisconsin truck driver alive, well
A preliminary investigation reportedly revealed the driver lost control while on a ramp from westbound I-94 to southbound I-41, ultimately falling into the westbound I-94 distress lane.
“There was just too much snow on the side of the road that once the tires got into like two feet of snow, there’s no controlling the vehicle of any kind,” Oliver said from his hospital room in an interview on “Good Morning America.”
The crash video details the truck falling 70 feet to the road below as cars pass by. It appeared to land backward, on its wheels, avoiding passing vehicles.
Oliver suffered a few broken bones and trauma, but he’s expected to make a full recovery.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.