CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Saturday saw high winds across the Lowcountry with two truck containers toppling over on I-526, with one crushing an officer’s police cruiser.
A Charleston Police officer on the Wando Bridge was nearly crushed while in his cruiser assisting another motorist when strong gusts of wind blew the container off a passing 18-wheeler and fell on top of the officer’s cruiser.
Charleston Police Lieutenant Wojslawowicz said that the involved officer, Craig Jones, is “doing okay” after going to the hospital to get checked out.
“Thankfully, no life-endangering issues, so he’ll be fine, he’s a little sore but it could’ve been much much worse.”
Officer Jones was since released from the hospital and is at home resting, Wojslawowicz said.
Wojslawowicz was not on the Wando Bridge at the time of the incident but responded around noon after getting calls about it.
Police were responding to a initial call of a disabled vehicle.
“About 7:00 or so there was a call for a disabled vehicle on the Wando Bridge from Mount Pleasant going into Daniel Island,” Wojslawowicz said. “Mount Pleasant officers and CPD officers went up there to handle the disabled vehicle and as they were dealing with that, several tractor-trailers were leaving Mount Pleasant going westbound on 526.”
Wojslawowicz said the trailer’s container was empty, and as the wind picked up, the container was pushed off the truck beforing striking the backend of Officer Jones’ vehicle.
That container then bounced off the cruiser, went over the barrier, and fell into the Wando River.
Another 18-wheeler was traveling on I-526 when that same gust of wind toppled over that truck’s container onto the roadway, Wojslawowicz said.
“I believe that container was full, so it didn’t become dislodged, but it kinda wrenched it a little bit where the whole backend looked like a roller coaster of twisted metal.”
The multiple incidents prompted CPD to shut down all lanes on both bridges to prevent further issues.
The bridge remained closed until about 11:30 a.m.
Wojslawowicz said that CPD’s harbor patrol has been in contact with the Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources in trying to locate the container that fell into the Wando River.
“It’s my guess that the container is at the bottom of the shipping channel or at the bottom of the river, so we’re gonna send a boat out there at some point,” he said. “It’ll be up to probably the Coast Guard to make determinations as the what they want to do, whether it needs to be brought back up to the surface, I believe that will be a question for the Coast Guard.”
Wojslawowicz said the next step is to locate where exactly that shipping container is located.
With the windy day, Wojslawowicz advises motorists to be careful as they’re driving. He says for drivers who feel that conditions are unsafe to “make good choices and don’t put themselves in a bad situations.”