‘I couldn’t believe I’m alive.’ Mom survives falling crane on I-95

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - “I couldn’t believe I’m alive.”

That’s what a 30-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University student – a wife and mother of a little girl – thought as soon as she leapt of her almost new Honda Civic that was crushed by the booms of a crane that had been scraped off a flatbed truck by on overpass Wednesday afternoon.

She jumped out, she said, because “I just thought the car is going to blow up. This is the first thing that came to mind.”

And why not? Just moments earlier her airbag exploded in her face as the crane boom flattened the entire right side of her entire car, except for the small area where she sat. Another boom hit the pavement just to the left of her car.

It was 4:30 p.m. when the crane booms hauled by a northbound 2007 Freightliner flatbed tractor-trailer driven by Omar J. Alston of Roanoke Rapids struck the 13-foot-11-inch Chamberlayne Avenue overpass, scraping off the load into the roadway ad practically into the student’s lap.

The student was behind the rig, on her way to her Henrico County home from VCU. She suffered minor injuries.

The trucker was charged with equipment being over height, according to the state police.

It’s far from the first time this low bridge has been hit, a VDOT worker told me. The accident caused a long back-up on northbound 95 as the snow began in earnest.

The trucker told CBS 6 that he is heartbroken, and so grateful it wasn’t worse.

He said the first thing he did was run back, his heart in his mouth, to see if the driver was ok.

It’s a miracle, he agreed. He had just started his hauling business a couple of months ago, he added sadly. This wasn’t the start he had in mind.

The young woman’s husband came to the scene, also extremely grateful he wife was ok. He got her travel case out of the car, along with their baby seat, and then used his cell phone to video the accident that could’ve easily claimed his wife.

He didn’t have much to say as the clean-up began.

“He thinks it’s a miracle,” the young woman said, “like I’m thinking.”

23 comments

  • James Regal

    This Bridge has been hit how many times????? It still hasent been raised up??? Why not???? Obama can build a 40 million Dollar Dream Home with our tax money but this bridge cant be fixed??? come on..

    • J Daff

      Uh, 1. WHAT $40MM home?
      2. What does the POTUS have to do with this accident?
      3. Did you FAIL High School Government? Apparently YOU did or you’d have known that the POTUS, regardless of who it is, has NOTHING to do with this or any other road projects.

      4. Do your homework before PROVING to the WORLD how big a fool you really are.

    • athynz

      As much as I dislike Obama’s policies, politics, and excessive vacations he has nothing to do with this accident or the funding for the bridge height to be changed. Sorry dude, pinning this on Obama is as bad as people trying to pin the current economic woes on Bush. IOW he’s not at fault.

      I’m curious if changing the bridge height falls under City of Richmond, State of Virginia, or VDOT. Because if this is not the first time this bridge has been hit – especially on a roadway like I95 then something needs to change. And I don’t recall any sort of bridge height warnings being posted prior to that bridge – say a few exits prior to that trucks can reroute to avoid this bridge.

      • J Daff

        Changing a bridge height is not as easy or cheap as some think. It costs millions of dollars AND months of time. You’ve got to also change/increase elevations of the approaches on both sides as well.

        The problem here is that the heights ARE posted and trucking companies have to get permits from VDOT for rigs like what involved in this accident. Their routes are marked with the bridge clearances. IF this driver deviated from his approved route or if the truck wasn’t (obviously) in height compliance, it’s going to fall back on not only the driver but the trucking company as well, imho.

      • Scott

        One thing is apparent. Everyone leaving a comment, I assume, are from the Richmond area… All of them failed grammar or English is a second language. Study a road map… Trucker should have went around and taken 295…

  • Peachez

    What does Obama have to do with how officials use the money in the budget…people always blaming one man for everything..wake up and smell the coffee

  • MW

    The bridge being hit is Obamas fault, REALLY? It Is clear someone did not pay attention during their government classes in middle school school. He has more control over the amount of snow we get than a truck drivers mistake.

  • Clayton Lonetree

    The accident was called by the idiot truck driver. He is typical of the ones they let drive big rigs out on the highway. He should have known what his clearance was, and paid attention. He was probably to busy shooting drugs and looking for prostitutes to notice the bridge. I hope she sues his behind off.

    • Josh P

      @Clayton Lonetree Your an idiot. You should be thankful for truckers. Everything you own has been on a truck at some point in time. Stop being aretard. Glad this women is ok though.

    • J Daff

      Clayton, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking. Are there bad apples out there? Yes. But they ARE the very small % of drivers who work very hard and very long hours to get YOU your precious things that YOU and those like you take so very much for granted.

  • SSilverx

    @Clayton Lonetree. You are an definitely and idiot. You need to be careful with the nonsense ignorant comments you post about other people. Just because you are a low life shooting drugs and looking for prostitutes doesn’t mean this trucker was, Well as a matter of fact he is not!!! You Dummy!! We are thankful this lady is ok and didn’t get hurt more seriously and we are also thankful for the trucker as well. At least he stopped and was concerned for the lady as well as the accident.

  • Sandriea

    @clayton Lonetree. First you don’t know this truck driver and what really happen I think you really need to think before you type. You are very disrespectful and need to watch what you say. Every truck driver deals drugs or mess with a lot of females. He was very concern about the women he was very hurt. And he even got out the truck and ran to the car to make sure she was okay.

  • MHedgepeth

    @Clayton you are passed being an idiot. Accidents happen unexpected that’s why they are called ACCIDENTS. I’m sure if he was doing drugs it would have been exposed by now. In case you didn’t know truckers are required to take a drug test within 8 hours of the accident. My heart hurts for the lady and her family, We will continue to pray for you ALL. My heart also hurts for this trucker and our family. Understand that things could have been worse than what they were. So before you speak what you don’t know try being in his shoes and feeling his pain. She can sue but suing won’t stop something like this from happening again. This man is out risking his life everyday to work and support his family. In the mean Clayton Lonetree can you go get a life and keep your DUMB comments to yourself. Thanks and you also be BLESSED!!!!!!!!

  • Herb

    some people dont understand what the word ACCIDENT means stop pointing fingers and accept it for what it was. Define the word accident and compare it to what happen, it happens to the most of us sometimes in life. IDIOT…..Thankful that the lady driving the honda is alive and ok, also the truck driver. My prayers go out to you both.

  • ecsoehng

    I passed that accident shortly after it happened a little after 4 when all of VCU was letting out, and I saw a man walking down the side of the road next to the accident holding the hand of a little boy? That accident was traumatic just to pass by.

  • John

    Where is the hookers? I’d rather pay for it than do someone’s wife. Cheating spouses is worst than hookers. Think about it.

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