Flash flood no match for Michigan trucker
05/14/2012 - 11:11:45 am
He was hauling a load of potatoes for Jenkins Trucking LLC from the 1,300-acre Jenkins Potato Farm, both family businesses, when he got stranded in a flash flood on I-75 in Flint.
“We stopped, me and three other trucks, about 3:30 in the morning near the railroad viaduct. There was water in the road. I stopped 400 to 500 feet before that,” Jenkins told Land Line.
Heavy rains had flooded not only the interstate, but also the nearby Flint River, compounding the problem. He took pictures as the water got higher and higher. Jenkins called 911 because there were three trucks there.
“I was pretty calm about it. I wanted to get on the roof to see what was going on, so they knew I was still there. I didn’t want them to think I had gotten another ride.”
Before he was rescued, Jenkins had spent two hours on the roof of his truck. The police showed up about 7:30 a.m. to direct traffic. By then traffic was stacking up. The police were helping people back up and turn around.
“I was up front,” Jenkins said. “By the time they got to me, the engine flooded. The other trucks made it out. Mine was the only one that quit.” The water was three feet deep when the motor quit and reached four feet total.
Officers were in contact with Jenkins the entire time he was stranded. One officer stood on the overpass and talked to him while he was waiting for the rescue boat. There was still a current, and the motor on the boat went out. The boat was pulled to the median on the freeway wall in an effort to get to him. Jenkins said by this time the water was beginning to go down.
Jenkins is waiting to hear from his insurance whether the truck will be totaled. His trailer was serviced that afternoon, and friends at another trucking company loaned him a truck.
Jenkins said he was able to deliver his load of potatoes the next morning.
By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line Magazine staff writer