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Brent Spence Bridge crash survivor tells story
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- A 75-year-old Cleveland man triggered Saturday's eight car pileup on the Brent Spence Bridge.
Covington police said he crossed two lanes of traffic to make an exit, collided with a semi that swerved and knocked a carload of people from the upper level to the lower deck. It was a good 15 feet from one level of the Brent Spence to the other. A long way when you're airborne in a car with three other people and thinking you may be falling into the Ohio River!
Eight cars wrecked, one hung off the side of the bridge. The 2000 Olds Intrigue smashed after it was knocked from the top, southbound level of the bridge to the lower level. Jarrett Holifield, his girlfriend, and two others were in it.
Jarret said, "The first thing I seen was the car that caused the accident get hit by the truck and it started getting closer to us. I thought we were going to stop but we got knocked into the guardrail. That made me close my eyes."
Holifield's description matched Covington police's. Their report said a Mitsubishi Galant crossed two lanes of traffic to make the Fifth Street Exit. The semi hit it and then hit the Olds Intrigue making Jarrett Holifield close his eyes. He wished he'd kept them closed.
"But when I opened my eyes, we were still in the air," Jarret said.
A bystander broke out the back window and got everyone out alive. Covington police said the Galant driver was not paying attention. Holifield said he was in a rush. Covington commissioner Steve Frank said those who blame the bridge are missing the point.
Frank said, "You know, it's an unfortunate accident and it happens all the time. And whether we have a new bridge or we don't have a new bridge, there's going to be accidents."
Jarrett Holifield suffered some bumps and bruises and hurt his back. His girlfriend fractured her pelvis and is on crutches. But, no one in the car was critically injured.
So far, no one has been cited in the accident. The police chief said that decision will be made by the prosecutor.
Seven cars and a semi were involved in the pileup. Most of the drivers, including the truck driver, were from out of state.
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