You know you’re having a bad day when your minivan filled with your family rear-ends a semi. You know you’re having a TERRIBLE day if that’s on a snowy, icy road and the semi ends up dragging your vehicle and entire family 16 miles down the road while your front end is smashed beneath its rear.
That’s what happened to one Michigan family Wednesday morning.
The Menz family was traveling north on Interstate 75 when the family minivan – a 2001 Toyota Sienna – smashed into the back of a semi-trailer traveling in the same direction. Mother, Pamela Menz, immediately called 911 from inside the vehicle as the semi unknowingly continued to drag the van another 16 miles down the highway.
Menz told 911:
I just want to get off the back of this thing.
Authorities from neighboring Crawford County were eventually able to find the wreck-in-motion and notify the semi driver to pull over.
Roscommon County Undersheriff Ed Stern stated:
The truck driver had no idea they were back there.
You know those signs on the backs of many semis that say, regarding drivers’ mirrors, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you.” That was exactly the problem. With half their front end smashed beneath the semi’s rear against the mud flaps, the Menz vehicle was too close to the semi for the driver to see, and apparently the load of the semi was too big for a rear end job to jar the driver in order to let him know his vehicle had been struck. The truck must also be powerful enough to drag an entire vehicle along without the driver noticing the extra load.
Father and driver of the minivan, Matthew Menz, is a truck driver, too, actually. He informed the 911 dispatcher that the truck had been “going about 2 miles an hour” in the middle of the road and hadn’t been utilizing its hazard lights at the time. Menz continued:
[There was] no warning whatsoever. I’m just blown away at how slow the truck was going.
Now, if you’re wondering why Matthew Menz didn’t simply blast the horn to try to clue the driver in, it’s because the impact mucked up the car’s computer and the vehicle actually shut down. They were not able to run the heater or honk their horn, and let’s face it – who cares if the radio does or doesn’t work in that situation? Forget it.
The impact also broke their windshield in conditions little better than a white-out, which is likely why the semi driver had been driving so slow. With no heater and a busted-out windshield in white-out conditions, you can imagine how cold the family must have quickly gotten, too.
All those conditions combined into a situation where the family could barely think or see well enough to describe to 911 dispatchers what the semi they’d run into looked like. Although, knowing approximately what section of the highway you were on when you crashed, and the direction you are traveling, it seems like authorities could simply be on the lookout for a semi pulling a small family-filled minivan. Have you ever seen “The Jerk”?
Luckily, with a bit of perspective, that terrible day ended pretty well. 26-year-old Justin Menz only suffered minor injuries upon impact with the semi-truck, and though the family was transported by ambulance to a local facility for a medical evaluation, none of their injuries were thought to be serious in nature.
The van, of course, was not so lucky.
Matthew Menz stated:
The van is definitely injured.
By the looks of it, I’d say the van is in critical condition.
No word has been given as to any possible charges pending against the driver of the semi for not using his hazard lights while driving that slowly in such conditions.