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Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 7:53 a.m.

Crash of truck into river shuts US-23 near Whitmore Lake

By Cindy Heflin

Update 11:55 a.m.: The freeway was reopened about 11:45 a.m., a Livingston County dispatcher said.

Northbound US-23 is closed this morning at M-36 near Whitmore Lake, following the crash of a truck into the Huron River. The highway will likely remain closed for a couple of more hours, Green Oak Township Fire Capt. Tracy Chamberlain said at 7:40 a.m

The semi truck went off the road north of Silver Lake Road and into the Huron River about 5 a.m. today, Chamberlain said. Firefighters used a boat to free the driver from the cab, which was partially submerged, Chamberlain said. The driver suffered minor injuries but did not require transportation to a hospital.

Crews are working to remove the part of the truck that is still blocking the freeway, Chamberlain said.

Police Chief Bob Brookins told the Livingston Daily Press & Argus that the 46-year-old semi driver told police he misread signs in a construction zone on the freeway. The truck crashed through a retaining wall, the newspaper reported.

A Google traffic map showed severe traffic backups in both directions on the freeway.


Traffic backups are shown in black, red and yellow on the map.



Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Coming in late after this, but I didn't have a chance to post this weekend. On my way home on Friday night, I took a look at the crash site from the left-hand northbound lane (the one that runs along southbound). The point at which the truck went off the road was well into the construction zone, and long after the "OMG THINGS ARE DIFFERENT WHAT DO I DO?!?!?" section of the split. The tracks make a straight line directly from the point where he left the road to the concrete barrier he smashed through. I can only guess, but I'd be willing to put down real money that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. 1. He was well past any signage that indicates the change (because nothing was to change again until north of Silver Lake.) 2. The tracks are perfectly straight, no indication that he tried to correct his path whatsoever. 3. The distance he traveled after leaving the road surface and the force with which the truck hit the barrier indicate that there was little to no braking attempted.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

"He misread the signs"! Sorry I drive this route often. The signs are very clear and far enough advanced! Especially the ones that says "Stay in your lane" and "speed limit 60 mph". But of course nobody seems to slow down or pay attention. So someone changes lane right at the split at 75 mph every time I go through there. I saw the trucks tracks first hand this morning. They tell the real story.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

" he misread signs in a construction zone on the freeway" Yes, he thought the sign said "SUBmerge right" ...

say it plain

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

I laughed at this comment...until I re-called what actually happened, yikes.... (still, that was a good one...)

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

Maybe he thought he saw a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk so he just floored it so he wouldn't need to stop.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

No no, that was that dinosaur from Plymouth Road going full steam ahead.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

When I read the headline I was thinking the driver must have fallen asleep. But the article said he became confused in the constructions zone. Since I have not seen the construction zone, I cannot judge that statement.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

He may have gotten cut off at the pass. Most car drivers hate getting behind trucks and school buses. I know, I almost got into it with a car cutting me off most times. Cars need to think as well. We do our job but car drivers don't. IMO

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

I've gone through it dozens of times. I don't see how anyone could be confused. It's well signed and well marked. Particularly for trucks, which would probably stay in the right lane. It's speculation, of course, but I think you'd have to be thoroughly distracted or sleeping to leave the road there.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

So the roads were dry and this person drives for a living... what's the explanation? I've managed to drive for nearly 30 years without driving into a river. Perhaps we'll hear the old "I was reaching for something" or "medical emergency" excuse. As I drove south on 23 this morning, I looked over at Fieldcrest and felt the pain of all those people. I hope nobody missed a job interview or an important doctor's appointment...


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

You have to remember this. You are in a car. This guy is in a truck. There is a difference in weight distribution when driving one of these things. If the load he is carrying shifts at any amount he can tip. Especially if he is going over a bridge and those emergency lanes do have a dip in them. Especially those road strips. So, you might want to try driving a truck for a day to understand what this guy is going thru. School buses on the other hand have a sway bar under their duals. This is for weight distribution. I always love it when we dip and the children think we are going over and flipping. We aren't. Glad to hear the driver is ok. What a nightmare.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

The police are making everyone get off at the south lyon exit and take the side road (Fieidcrest). Of course, its all backed up. Stay away from this nightmare mess!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Would that be right in the middle of the big construction mess there?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Yes it was. It took me 30+ minutes to get around it through the detour.