How to Remove a Guard Rail Without Really Trying
A serious tractor trailer accident late last week drew emergency responders and Alabama State Troopers to the scene on Alabama's I-65. Occurring around 4pm at the 318 mile marker, the accident took place right at the Cullman and Morgan County lines.
Police reported that a semi truck driver lost control, running off the road in the process. He apparently tried to over correct for the mistake, running off the right side of the road. This took him through 180 feet of guard rail before the truck flipped over, trapping the driver inside the vehicle.
Fire crews from the nearby town of Vinemont had to use the jaws of life to extract Vince Able, a 49-year-old Birmingham resident, from the cab of his truck. Able was taken to Cullman Medical Center as a precaution, but his injuries were described as not being life threatening.
The damage to the guard rail and truck was so extensive that the two were partially entwined -- roadway workers had to cut away a chunk of the rail to pull the truck out. One of the wrecking vehicles broke down during the procedure, further complicating the process and delaying matters.
Traffic was backed up well past the Falkville exit some miles back in Morgan County, leaving only the southbound lane of the highway open to drivers.
While no other vehicles were involved in the crash, what this accident again illustrates is the sheer power and weight involved in a tractor trailer accident. The truck went through 180 feet of guard rail like it was nothing, and still had the momentum to flip entirely over and trap the driver inside. Had that impact been directed at other vehicles instead of the safety railing, lives would surely have been lost.
It is not yet known what exactly caused the accident. Investigations often look for fatigue, intoxication, or mechanical discrepancies, but there is no word on whether any of these are currently under consideration.