A driver who survived when his ute plunged about 21 metres off a slippery interchange exit ramp in Wisconsin said he feels thankful to be alive.
Richard Lee Oliver, in an interview that aired on Good Morning America, said he was on his way to his mother’s house when his truck hit snow on the shoulder of a Milwaukee-area overpass.
“There was just too much snow on the side of the road that once the tyres got into like two foot of snow there’s no controlling a vehicle of any kind,” Mr Oliver said.
He was hospitalised with a broken back and a broken leg, among other injuries.
A Wisconsin Department of Transportation camera captured Saturday’s crash in which the ute can be seen flipping over the a barrier wall and plummeting to the interstate below as cars pass by.
The truck landed upright on the right shoulder of the westbound lanes of Interstate 94.
Mr Oliver, the father of a six-month-old, said he is grateful to the two people who came to his aid, including a man who helped him make a phone call.
“He helped me in the bed of my truck and helped me call my mom just in case I wasn’t going to make it,” he said.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the red pickup truck that had skidded off the ramp sitting upright in the roadway below.
“The vehicle travelled up a snowbank, proceeded over the barrier wall, and descended 70 feet (21 metres) down onto the westbound I-94 distress lane,” the sheriff’s office said.
The incident is just one of many that have occurred across the Midwest where snow, sub-zero temperatures and freezing rain have created dangerous, icy roadway conditions.
Milwaukee County Highways and Maintenance director Eddie Santiago said the conditions make driving especially dangerous.
“The biggest risk with that is the melting and the freezing creates sort of a ramp, a natural ramp,” he said.
“The snow is hard as concrete, so a lot of our equipment is out there, basically chipping away at the, literally chipping away at the snow and ice to get that removed.”
Icy weather creates dangerous road conditions
More than 41 million people remain under winter weather alerts that stretch from Oklahoma to Cape Cod, according to CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy.
In Oklahoma, freezing rain created icy roadways leading to more than 380 car crashes in the state by 5pm on Monday, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety (OHP/DPS).
Early Monday morning, Oklahoma City Police warned in a tweet that cold temperatures had frozen over bridges, causing several crashes.
Two people died and people suffered injuries in at least 130 of the incidents Oklahoma State Troopers responded to, according to the tweet.
At least 20 cars were caught in a pile up on I-40, the main thruway of Oklahoma City, Monday, OHP Trooper Eric Foster said during a press briefing Monday.
Foster said that an unknown number of people were injured during multiple collisions along an icy bridge.