Truck driver feared for life after wreck left him dangling off I-40 bridge

The driver of a tractor-trailer that was left dangling over the edge of the Interstate 40 in downtown after a wreck Friday said he feels lucky to be alive.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: August 30, 2011
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An Oklahoma City man who was trapped in his tractor-trailer rig for an hour as it hung over the edge of the Interstate 40 bridge downtown following a wreck said Monday he was terrified as emergency personnel worked to free him.

Russell Bentley, 40, was hauling a load of gravel in the middle lane of I-40 westbound as it passes through downtown Oklahoma City when a pickup towing a trailer swerved in front of him.

“The exit for I-35 south started backing up a little bit, and that pickup jumped right out in front of me,” Bentley said. “I hit the trailer, it blew out one of my tires and I went into the concrete barrier.”

Bentley, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown into the sleeper compartment of the tractor-trailer. When it came to a stop, he tried to get out. He had no idea that both the cab and trailer were hanging precariously on the edge of the bridge.

“I looked out the passenger window, and there was a 100-foot drop to the ground,” Bentley said. “I saw my hard hat down there, and I freaked out. There were a lot of cuss words going through my mind.”

His immediate reaction was to escape, but that wasn't possible.

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