Roll, who has been a truck driver for 27 years, says he was extremely scared and feared for his life as the truck started to tilt.
Since the bridge opened for business in 1964, seven trucks and three cars have gone over the side and only one person lived to tell the tale. Roll shakes his head at those odds as he thinks about how close he came to being part of those statistics.
Roll said it was the first time he had crossed the CBBT in more than 25 years. His truck was empty because he had just dropped off a load of aluminum cans in Maryland. The fact that it was empty could have contributed to his near miss since the truck was light enough to be blown around.
Roll wouldn’t even have been on the bridge under the bad conditions, but the situation hit way too fast for the authorities to sound the alarm in time to stop any traffic already on the bridge. The weather alarms hit around 4:30 p.m., which was an hour before they had been predicted.
The speed of the surprised everyone, as usually the bridge authorities put restrictions in place during windy conditions. There is a gradual scale of 1-5 and trucks such as Roll’s are turned away at number 2.
However, it was only level one when he entered the bridge at 4:32, and one minute later it went to level 4. Any driver on the bridge didn’t have a choice except to keep on driving, as the winds went immediately to an estimated 78 mph.
Rolls said suddenly he felt the truck lifting up and he couldn’t steer it back down so the wheels would go back to the ground. He remembers hitting the guard rail and thinking that he was going into the bay. Lucky for him, it only tipped and didn’t go completely over and he was able to get out. Roll says he just closed his eyes and thought about this wife and kids.
When asked about his truck, Roll said he didn’t even turn back to look at it tottering at the edge of the bridge, he was just glad to be alive.