MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (WOOD) - Strong thunderstorm winds caused a semi-truck to tip on its side and lean against the guardrail of the Mackinac Bridge.
Joe Cole of Hastings was behind the wheel of the rig when it tipped . Cole works for Kuperus Trucking Inc. of Jenison and was on his way to Marquette to deliver some sporting equipment when the truck tipped.
"As I was getting closer to the Mackinac Bridge, I could see in the sky that it was getting darker and darker as I got closer and closer. I really wish now, hindsight is twenty twenty, I wish I would have just stopped and waited," said Cole in a phone interview with 24 Hour News 8.
" On the upclimb of the bridge and that wind was keep getting stronger and stronger I was getting scared. I didn't like that feeling what's so bit," he said.
Cole said he slowed down to about 15 mph and was halfway across the bridge when the gust of wind came that knocked his truck over.
"I started feeling the tractor start lifting, and then after a couple lifts I said my goodness this is over," he said. "I felt the whole tractor come up, up, up, up and over and off to the side I went."
Cole was told by the bridge authority they measured the wind gust that blew him over at 79 miles-per-hour.
"I just clinched onto the steering wheel to give me something to hold on to, and the seat belt did the rest, and I was just goin' with the flow."
He says he knew he was safe when he was staring down at the road, which was much better than the alternative.
"I wasn't starring down at water." But he was stuck. "I was in essence just dangling there, the seatbelt keeping me in place."
Cole said he was able to slide his feet over so he could stand up on the passenger seat, un-clip his seatbelt and get out of his seat. He then had to wait for rescue crews to arrive on scene to get him out of the truck. Cole said the weight of the door plus the wind was too much for him to open the door.
"I thank the Lord every moment afterwards you know that I'm still here and that he wasn't ready to take me yet."
Cole said he will make the delivery to Marquette Saturday and then make the trip back home to his wife and two little girls waiting back in Hastings.
"I can't wait to get home and give them all hugs and kisses," he said.
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