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Container crushes police cruiser with officer inside

Staff //March 15, 2022//

Container crushes police cruiser with officer inside

Staff //March 15, 2022//

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A Charleston Police Department cruiser was damaged on the Wando Bridge after wind blew a container off of the truck, into the car and over the bridge into the water. (Photo/Charleston Police Department)A gust of wind blew a container off a truck chassis on the Wando Bridge, hitting a police car with the officer in it the morning of March 12. The officer, who was shaken up, did not sustain any physical injuries.

“Had it hit two to three feet further up the passenger compartment, we may not be having this same conversation,” Charleston Police Lt. Matthew T. Wojslawowicz said.

Around 7 a.m. that morning, the officer responded to a disabled vehicle on the Wando River Bridge.

With the third lane blocked off, a truck coming from the Wando Welch Terminal drove down the middle lane as a strong wind knocked the container from the chassis and into the car where the police officer was waiting for a tow truck. The container then slid off the edge of the bridge into the water, 55 feet below.

Wojslawowicz said the officer was shaken up and a little sore. He did not sustain any major injuries.

At the same time of the first incident, Wojslawowicz said, another truck had its container blown off onto the roadway decking of the bridge. A third cargo-carrying truck had its container caught up in a gust on the Don Holt Bridge. The back end of the container was mangled as the truck spun around, also a little after 7 a.m.

Both bridges were immediately shut down after the incidents, and remained closed until 11 a.m. when winds died and the police department determined driving conditions were safe again.  

Shutting down the bridges closed off main arteries for those traveling from Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant, but Wojslawowicz said the Ravenel Bridge remained open, and DI residents could still cut across Clements Ferry Road.

“You have to weigh the pros and cons. Yes, it’s going to be an inconvenience, but public safety trumps convenience any day of the week,” Wojslawowicz said.

A day later, a diver was sent into the Wando River to locate the first container. Wojslawowicz said a dredging company will work out logistics for the best way to retrieve it out of the water.

To clear out the second truck’s container, Wojslawowicz said two tow trucks had to strap the container and use a crane to lift it back onto the chassis.

“I had never seen anything like that before,” Wojslawowicz said. “I’ve seen ice storms. I’ve seen hurricanes. I’ve never seen containers get blown off of truck chassis. That’s a first for me in my 20 years of law enforcement.”