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Truck Driver Survives Nightmare Crash

The twisted wreckage of the 18 wheeler

Paul Ashton Spencer, a 52-year-old truck driver from Prattville, AL, went for the ride of his life yesterday morning just after 5:00 am. Spencer was Eastbound on the Highway 82 Bypass, just passing the 18th Avenue overpass, when his rig left the roadway. The 2010 Kenworth T660 jack-knifed in the median and rolled on its driver’s side. From the point of impact, the tractor and trailer slid roughly 100 yards. When it came to rest, the trailer was stretched across both westbound lanes with the truck itself extending into the inner eastbound lane. The lanes were filled with broken pieces of the rig and the contents of the cab. [Spencer must be an avid reader, as there were no less than a dozen novels strewn across the crash site. – JD] Spencer’s payload, a 20-ton steel coil, broke free of its bindings and lay in the median, slightly unrolled. Evidence would suggest that the coil shifted on the trailer, unbalancing the truck and sending it into the destructive roll. However, it is unknown whether the load shifted on its own or if Spencer went slightly off the road and tried to correct his rig.
Spencer is unable to fill in the blanks in the investigation because, as he told Columbus Police Officer Wade Beard, he has no recollection of the wreck. According to the trucker, he remembers driving on the Bypass and his next memory is of Columbus Firefighters cutting the top off his truck to free him. He is currently in ICU at BMH-GT, suffering from multiple fractures. His injuries are not said to be life-threatening.
The process of getting Spencer out of the truck took more than half an hour. Firefighters had to use the “Jaws of Life” to free the driver, eventually removing the entire roof of the semi. Once freed, Spencer was strapped to a backboard and secured in a full spinal package before being transported to BMH-GT for emergency medical treatment.
Bob’s Towing sent out their two biggest trucks to flip the semi back over and haul it away. The cab of the demolished Kenworth was removed with a forklift and secured to the now-empty flatbed.
[This is the third major rollover of its kind in the last five months. In July, a truck flipped on island road after avoiding an oncoming car, sending a steel coil into a stand of trees near the river. In April, a westbound truck lost control less than 100 yards from the site of Wednesday morning’s crash. The coil it was carrying flew over the outer guard rail, flipped down the hill and came to rest nearly inside the parking lot of Cook Elementary. Luckily, none of these runaway paperweights have come in contact with any other vehicles. The weight of these coils would reduce a passenger car to little more than scrap metal. – JD] Also damaged in the wreck was the foundation for a new cable barrier that is being built along the entire length of the Highway 82 Bypass. The barrier runs along the median and is built to reduce the danger of cross-median crashes. The posts and cable have not been added to the Columbus stretch of the barrier yet, but the impact of the rig flipping on its side decimated a 15 foot section of the concrete foundation.



  1. Ross Ford

    If I were a SeverStal CEO, I wouldn’t be worried about typo’s, I would be asking myself ‘WHY’ my ‘coils’ keep coming loose. Then I would go buy me some super deluxe Master Locks to lock down my binder levers to the chains, and see if that works. But I’m just an old dock bum, and not a CEO.

  2. Nothing personnal against this guy and I hope he recovers soon. But I am tired of A@#HOLE TRUCKERS doing whatever they want on the road without regard to public safety or property. Its get out my way or we will run you over ! And they do!

  3. star

    I totally agree….
    Someone needs to make a better effort for this not to happen again before someone dies over this nonsense

  4. jotobow

    Its unfair to make assumptions,a million reasons it could of hapopened through no fault of Mr. Spencers.What I do know is he has over well over a million accident free miles,and also that his truck is governed at 62 mph.THOSE ARE FACTS.

  5. Ashley

    To be honest with y’all on your rude comments a big truck can’t stop on a dime and some of them don’t care how they drive but there are alot that do, so instead of making rude remarks towards a man you don’t even know I think you need to get your facts straight… Noone can help what breaks on there truck, and to correct you on nonsense…. They way y’all are acting is the only nonsense I see… Furthermore have respect for Big trucks and you have nothing to worry about, like I said they can’t stop quick like cars can!!! Anyone who talks this kind of nonsense needs Jesus because anything can happen ( you never know )….. The roads ain’t perfect which puts strain on the binders, chains take so much stress, bad spots in the road can shift a load, loosen binders, and break chains, so which the driver has no control of the way the road is!!! ( sh** happens )

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