ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – All involved escaped unharmed, but a fiery semi truck crash shut down I-696 and left a mess on the freeway.
Many people who live in the area of westbound 696 just before Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill they didn’t see the accident, but they heard it.
“I was at my house and I heard four loud booms. I mean, it was loud; shook the whole area,” said nearby neighbor Diana, who didn’t give her last name. “Then we saw a huge plume of smoke go up. I mean, it was just really, really going.”
Another local resident, Dave Kowarski said he heard the impact and then an explosion.
“I came over and I was talking to the gentleman, he went out to help the two girls. The truck driver went out right though the window; he said he dove through the window, and the two girls got out through the sunroof, which is amazing.”
The two young women he mentioned were in a Dodge Durango that also caught fire. At least one more vehicle, a car, was completely incinerated
“They need to play the lottery. Everybody’s lucky to be alive today,” Kowarski said.
By late in the afternoon, not much was left of any of the three vehicles involved. McNeill reported the crews had to cut the tuck up into pieces in order to get it off the freeway.
Police are not offering any details as far as what led to the accident, although they did confirm that no one was hurt.
The Michigan Department of Transportation said there was some damage done to the median wall which will need to be repaired.
The freeway, which was closed for cleanup and an investigation, has since reopened.