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Jackknifed Semi

posted by DL Byron on September 30, 2005

So man we're driving home from REI last night, and boom, right in front of us a semi abruptly tries to change lanes, jackknifes, slams into one retaining wall, then another, and skids to a stop blocking all lanes of southbound travel to I-90. It happened right as I was telling Pam how confusing the intersection is. The Seattle PI has reported on it in their Getting There column: Defying death at the exit to I-90. Luckily we continued on the exit and didn't t-bone the semi. Another car just squeaked by as the semi started to skid.

What happens is drivers end up on the Dearborn, Airport Way, Fourth Avenue South and the stadiums exit by mistake (not really, as the exit goes straight through to I-5 but you can't tell that from the signage) and then swerve back onto the freeway lanes.

Our daughter was stunned. At first, having never seen anything like that go down, she didn't think it was real and laughed nervously. She soon realized it was real and a big life lesson for her.

Of course, the crash happened in seconds, but all in slow-mo.

WSDOT has promised better signage. I hope that's soon.

Comments (2)
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Oct 03  |  Rob said:

Hey, I’m not too sure but I think I was in the car that just ‘squeaked’ by. I just happened to search Seattle semi jack-knife and I was brought to your page. Anyway, as the truck came across the highway, my wife slammed on the breaks and steered hard right. We were sliding on the wet payment but somehow we managed to avoid the truck by about 2 feet. Then we were heading straight for the barrier were the exit splits off and she had to steer hard left. Missed it by a few inches. I thought for sure we were going to bite it.

Definitely know what you mean about seeing it unfold in slow motion. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Oct 04  |  -b- said:

Great to hear you’re ok and good driving by your wife - I’m guessing the car has anti-lock brakes. Part of the stunning slow-mo was watching your car and hoping it made it. I’m really glad you did, as I think it would’ve be a tragic accident. I’m also glad you found my post — I also searched for news on it, but couldn’t find anything.

I was shaken up for a few days and are daughter relived it when we drove be the same intersection over the weekend. My wife noticed that the reinforced the barriers. Man I hope no one dies there.

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