A very lucky driver survived a 21.34 m fall after his pickup truck hit a snowbank on a higher ramp of Milwaukee’s “Zoo” interchange and landed wheel-side up on westbound I-94 below on Saturday. The horrifying crash was captured on surveillance video from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The WDOT video, featured below in a WISN 12 News report, shows the red pickup hit a snowbank built up on the shoulder of the curved ramp, sending it over:
Police arrived on the scene moments later, according to WISN 12 News, and reported the driver “conscious and breathing but in a lot of pain.” The crash investigation is ongoing however police told WISN that the driver did not appear to be impaired.
The buildup of snow on the roadside like this is a big problem, Eddie Santiago, Milwaukee County Highway Director told WISN. Santiago said the melting and freezing process of the plowed snow buildup makes a “natural ramp.”
Santiago also said the ice gets to be as “hard as concrete” making it difficult to remove. Crews use front loaders and snow blowers to chip away at the dangerous snow ramps. This is not the first crash to happen under similar circumstances at this interchange in recent years, either. WISN 12 News highlighted another fatal crash involving a red pickup truck that hit a snowbank and rolled over a median four years ago. There was even another crash this past weekend with no serious injuries involving an SUV hitting a similar snowbank and riding up the median wall before stopping.
Obviously, there are a lot of conditions that lead up to crashes like this. Drivers who don’t adjust their speed to meet road conditions and road conditions can change quickly during the day making winter driving particularly dangerous. But with two crashes in one weekend, one nearly fatal, the buildup of snow and ice on the roadside on such interchanges needs far, far more attention than they are currently getting if we’re serious about ensuring driver safety.
Saturday’s pickup crash looks to me like it could have been a 10th-generation Ford F-150, though it was not clear from news reports what vehicle was actually involved. But if it was, good for Ford, and lucky for the driver.