MILWAUKEE - Video shows the moments before and after a wrong-way driver crashed into a construction zone on I-43 Sunday morning, July 31. That driver, a Milwaukee-area man, 28, was arrested for OWI and second-degree recklessly endangering safety.
Among the first responders was Ray's Towing Company. They've been in business for decades and have seen it all, but the general manager said this incident was unique.
The video shows the driver headed northbound in the southbound lanes of I-43 Sunday morning. According to sheriff's officials, he drove about five miles the wrong way before crashing into a construction zone near Capitol Drive. After the crash, his vehicle teetered on a construction girder, making for a unique rescue.
"For me and this company, we’ve been around for 90 years. We have seen a lot," said Mark Salentine, Ray's Towing. "Have I seen that particular situation before? No."
First responders from Milwaukee and North Shore Fire/Rescue got the driver out through the trunk. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said, "By some miracle, the driver didn’t injure or kill himself or anyone else."
Salentine said they responded to the scene with what's called a rotator.
"If the car had plunged through, it might have rolled over, gone down a steep hill," said Salentine.
On the heels of this crash, Salentine asked for respect for tow truck drivers on the road, as they are always responding to incidents and crashes that require space for safety purposes.
"We always like to get the message out there to move over. Slow down. Respect the emergency personnel, including tow trucks," said Salentine. "It’s hard to get respect for tow trucks working out there."
Photo: North Shore Fire Department
He agreed the driver is lucky to have walked away uninjured. The sheriff's office said the images show just how close this was to becoming a tragedy.
First responders also ask that the public be vigilant amid heavy construction in southeast Wisconsin.