That must have been a wild ride! Your first thought is that this dude must have been stone, cold drunk. That, or he fell asleep at the wheel. But that’s not the case at all. It’s a combo of ice, hard-packed snow, and bad luck. Fortunately, his luck wasn’t completely bad. He lived through this 70-foot plunge from an icy overpass.
The main culprit was snow piled up against the icy overpass shoulder
This happened in Wisconsin, on the I-94 in West Allis, by the Zoo interchange. The roads were icy and that is what started the problems. But the main culprit was snow piled up against the shoulder of the interchange flyover. Emphasis on “fly” over.
“The biggest risk with that is the melting and the freezing creates sort of a ramp, a natural ramp,” Milwaukee County’s Director of Highways and Maintenance Eddie Santiago told WISC-TV. “The snow is hard as concrete, so a lot of our equipment is out there, basically chipping away … literally chipping away at the snow and ice to get that removed.”
The packed snow acts as an offramp with emphasis on “ramp”
The road crews try their hardest to prevent the buildup of snow just for this reason. It acts as an offramp with emphasis on “ramp.” Fortunately when the Milwaukee County Sheriffs arrived the man was conscious and was being attended to by two motorists giving first aid. The driver was then transported to the local hospital.
A very similar icy overpass accident happened about four years ago according to WISC-TV that took the life of the driver. Built-up snow had melted into a hard ramp-like buildup against a concrete shoulder. Video of that accident is included toward the end of the video from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.