Columbus Police and Fire Departments were called to Port Access Rd just about 1/8 of mile south of Island Rd.around 8:15am Saturday morning after a flatbed tractor trailer overturned while making a delivery the port. James Stegall said he was headed to the port with a 46,000lb. coil of steel en route from Severstal when a grey Buick came into his lane forcing him off the eastern edge of the road.Stegall told police that the car took the northbound turn too narrowly, forcing him to drastically change course.
The sudden movement of his 2000 Freightliner Classic caused the weight of the coil to shift and tip the truck on its’ side. Police believe the flatbed portion of the truck hit the ground first, tossing the 23 ton coil first into the dirt shoulder(leaving a three foot deep divot) and then into the nearby treeline where it cut through several mixed hardwood trees like a hot knife through mashed potatoes.The cab of the big rig was “snapped” down to the shoulder as the rear bed slammed to the ground. Emergency crews arrived to find Stegall crawling from the passenger door of his rig unscathed, but not unshaken. Stegall, who was driving for Blair Logistics, expressed concern that the cab would be totaled and that this wreck may be the end of his career in the transport business. CPD Sgt. Glynn Culpepper and Officers Chris Smith and Kenneth Brewer gathered details from Stegall and another trucker who also witnessed the grey Buick driving erratically seconds after the truck overturned. Around 9:00am Henry’s Towing arrived on scene with two trucks: A standard big-rig towing truck named “The Purple People Eater”, piloted by Bobby McKensie, and a second heavy rescue truck that went under the moniker “Child’s Play”, manned by Brent Teague. [Police on scene referred to the 120,000lb Century Rotator as “Big Green”. Owner Henry Glover told me at his airport event that afternoon that either name was appropriate. Glover also noted that it was the only on-call rig of this power within 100 miles(to his knowledge)-CK]
Teague and McKensie backed their behemoths nearly end to end on the west side across from the marooned rig around 9:30am. Chuck Cook coordinated the operation and helped ease the massive tow cables from their respective pulleys. The cables from the mighty Purple People Eater were attached just behind the cab and on the top (passenger side) of the overturned bed. The massive cables attached to the boom arm of Child’s Play were attached to the bed frame in the middle and rear of the bed. The two rescue trucks tensioned the cables and had the 18-wheeler corrected within minutes (The estimated weight of the truck without the coil was 35,000lbs).
After the truck was overturned, the damage to cab appeared to most on scene to be less severe than expected. The driver’s side of the cab was fairly well dented and some chrome attachments were destroyed, including a large exhaust tube and the extended mirror. The bed of the truck had several “chops” and marks, but did not seem to sustain any frame damage.[I was told late that day that a truck and forklift arrived from the port around 11:15 to lift the coil and transported it to its’ original destination-CK.]