Driver Trapped When Bridge Falls on SUV in Iowa

On Oct. 10  truck pulling a trailer with an excavator struck a rail road bridge knocking the support beams from its mounts and trapped the driver of an SUV in the next lane.

The truck was in the northbound lanes around 4:00 p.m. when the excavator struck the beam assembly, dropping a section of the bridge onto the SUV that was also traveling northbound lanes. The roof of the SUV was crushed and trapped the driver, who was the only occupant. 

The Saylor Township Fire Department was dispatched along with mutual aid from Johnston and Pleasant Hill for their heavy rescue trucks. 

Saylor and Johnston units approached the scene from the north and Pleasant Hill approached from the south.

Crews from Saylor and Johnston evaluated the scene and provided medical assistance to the trapped driver. Before any extrication work could begin, the beams that had spanned both northbound lanes and now resting on the front and roof of the SUV had to be removed.

A wrecker company located approximately one mile north from the scene was called in to lift the beams off the SUV. Once the metal beam assembly was removed, crews removed the roof, front doors and rolled the dash to free the driver.

Saylor and Johnston crews cut the roof and door on the passenger side of the SUV. Pleasant Hill's crew removed the roof and door on the driver's side of the vehicle.

Units responding from Saylor were 4900, 4910, Rescue Truck 4970 and Squads 4980 and 4981. Johnston responded with their Rescue Truck 3970 and Pleasant Hill rolled Duty Car 4310 and Rescue Truck 4370.

Fraser, a local ambulance service responded with two squads and Methodist Hospital's Life Flight helicopter was on scene. Polk County Sheriff’s department handled traffic control by stopping all north and south bound traffic and rerouting it around the scene.

The driver was taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center and treated for a broken nose and minor cuts.

The driver of the truck was later cited for several violations and the road remained closed for a week while the overpass was repaired.