Man struck by semi while pushing stalled car on Chain of Rocks Bridge

6:58 PM, Dec 8, 2010   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) -- One person died in the Chain of Rocks Bridge crash and forced the crossover between north St. Louis County and Madison County Illinois to be closed Wednesday morning.

All lanes of I-270 across the Chain of Rocks Bridge reopened by 3:30 p.m.

Drivers called 911 but, police were sent to the wrong location. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed 911 callers told them about a driver needing assistance at Interstate 270 and Riverview Drive on the Chain of Rocks Bridge. That is the correct location.

But the commander of the 911 dispatch center put out incorrect information, sending two officers to Interstate 70 and Riverview.

Police said they received 911 calls about 15 minutes before the crash about the disabled vehicle, needing assistance. But officers were never able to get to the man because of miscommunication. Police said a caller told dispatchers the correct location, but the commander of the 911 center told officers to go to I-70 at Riverview, not I-270 and Riverview.

Five minutes after that mistake, still 10 minutes from the time of the crash, the 911 center realized the mistake and dispatched officers to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. But officers did not get there before the crash.

The victim's name has not been released.

St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlos Ross said a man was pushing his car on the bridge with the drivers side door open, to allow him to steer the vehicle.

A tractor trailer driver, who apparently did not see the unlit car or the man pushing it, tried to avoid the victim, but struck the disabled car and hit the man.  The 18-wheeler then swerved into the concrete median and caught on fire.

Chain of Rocks Bridge crash - PHOTOS 

UPS driver Dave Romero called NewsChannel 5 on the phone and said he witnessed the accident and was stuck on the bridge. 

Romero said he was heading eastbound and saw a truck swerve to the left, jump the median and explode.  He saw the driver in front of him jump out of his truck and run up to the wrecked truck with a fire extinguisher.  The driver was able to pull the man in the fiery crash out.

Romero said he heard there was a car being pushed westbound on the bridge that did not have its lights on.  The truck swerved, but hit the car, jumped the median and then exploded. 

Casaundra Markley works at a Motomart convenience store on the Missouri-side near the crash scene.  She said a customer told her to call the police because there was a guy pushing his vehicle westbound on I-270.  She called 911 and said 10 minutes later, she looked out and saw a huge fire.

AAA spokesperson Mike Wright said drivers who break down should try to move as far to the right side of the road and out of the flow of traffic is possible. 

Wright recommends if the vehicle is completely off the road way, drivers can stay in the vehicle if it is safe, until help arrives.

If drivers can not move their vehicle out of traffic or off the road, they should turn on their hazard lights.  Also, get away from the vehicle and walk facing traffic so you can see the cars coming at you and they can see you.


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