Southfield Freeway bridge, truck collision: What happened?

State police investigate why truck's boom was up, striking pedestrian bridge


DETROIT – Just what happened moments before 54-year-old Stanford Doll drove his truck into a Southfield Freeway pedestrian bridge Friday morning at Cathedral Street is at the center of the police investigation.

The boom of the truck from TLC Waste Disposal Services hit the bridge. Investigators want to know why the hydraulic lift was up while Doll was driving on the freeway.

"That's something we're definitely going to have to take a look at," said Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw. "There's nothing that sticks out to us now as far as mechanical."

The truck did have a black box which could provide investigators with crucial information about what was happening at the time of the crash. Michigan State Police say they're doing a thorough investigation.

"We want to figure out a way, if there is a way, to make sure that this never happens again," said Shaw.

People who live along the Southfield Freeway want to know how a crash could bring this bridge down. It's a bridge that many children use to get to and from school.

"I figure it should be able to take the impact and the automobile or the truck should have been damaged. For the truck to hit it and bring it down, that's scary," said Robert Allen, who lives nearby.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the bridge was last inspected in May and it got a passing grade. It wasn't on the schedule to be replaced until 2017.

"It almost doesn't matter what kind of bridge we would have had over this freeway. If somebody hits it with a hydraulic lift at any kind of a force or speed, we would expect any bridge would be affected the same say," said MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross.