Dan Sligh and his wife were headed for a Memorial Day camping trip yesterday evening when the Interstate 5 bridge over Washington's Skagit River collapsed ahead of his Ram pickup. Sligh said he saw a big puff of dust after a tractor trailer struck a portion of the bridge, and the roadway quickly vanished into the river below. While he applied the brakes, the momentum of his truck and trailer propelled the couple right over the edge. While speaking with reporters, Sligh said he held on as tight as he could before seeing a white flash and feeling the cold water of the river rush into the cab.

The impact dislocated the Navy veteran's shoulder, but he was able to push it back into place in time to pull his wife from the wreckage. Early reports say the collapse occurred when a tractor trailer struck the bridge's overhead girders. One other individual fell into the water, but no one was killed in the ordeal. Federal inspectors had previously rated the structure "functionally deficient."

The bridge, near Seattle, carries around 77,000 vehicles per day and was built in 1955. Interestingly enough, the bridge's "functionally deficient" rating doesn't necessarily mean that the span was deemed unsafe, just that that portions of it required monitoring or repair. You can watch Sligh's CNN interview below.


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  • 24 Comments
      Paul B
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hate it when my irrational fears turn out to be completely rational after-all.
      Jared Forcier
      • 1 Year Ago
      The bridge\'s rating was not \"Functionally Deficient\" it was \"Functionally Obsolete\" which means it was actually in good repair but does not conform to modern construction standards. As a result it required more frequent inspection and higher levels of maintenance to ensure its integrity was not being compromised by carrying more traffic and heavier vehicles than it was originally designed for.
      Erik Berge
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't imagine the engineers who designed that bridge expected it to last as long as it has. Just the fact that it's a near 60 yr old steel bridge tells me its time to replace it, let alone the fact it cant handle current traffic flow. Some old bridges (Golden Gate, Brooklyn Bridge) are worth the time and money to keep but little ones like this need to be replaced badly so things like this never happen again. Let alone just the regular freeway's roadway.
      Michael
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow he handled it like a boss, popped his shoulder back in place and saved his wife. That has to be worth an endless supply of brownie points.
        Roy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Michael
        She gives him any lip, all he has to do is rub his shoulder.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow, glad they're okay. Too bad about his truck and camper. But, they can be replaced.
      T. Bracelin
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Functionally deficient" only means its a four lane bridge that isn't capable of handling current levels of traffic. It has nothing to do with the structural integrity if the thing. That's how it was explained by the local station here.
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      \"The impact dislocated the Navy veteran\'s shoulder, but he was able to push it back into place in time to pull his wife from the wreckage.\" BEAST MODE!
      Spies1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see yomama found laser again.
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've been across that bridge dozens of times. It was built in 1955 with the original major I-5 development up the state. The oversized was high at the corners and just clipped one of the upper beams of the box girder structure letting the whole structure kink and fall away from it's concrete support pilings We got darn lucky there weren't more people on the bridge at the time - it's the main freeway between Seattle metro and everything north (Canada). At the time it was built the area was completely rural and so a basic box girder bridge was perfectly fine. Sounds like the driver of the truck was fully licensed, very experienced, and stopped immediately - he just eased just in an inch or two too close to right and watched in his mirror as the bridge fell away behind him. Time for a nice pre-stressed concrete girder bridge - nothing up top to run into.
      joejoe509
      • 1 Year Ago
      Without proper funding, these collapses will be more and more common. Time to call Elon Musk, I suppose.
      Mark Thump
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the local callers to the radio station I listened to last night said that this section of the bridge tended to get bouncy when crossing in a loaded medium sized dump truck, to the point that they would use an alternate route. If this is the case, the oversized load may have in fact fitted... before the bounce. I believe person who crossed the bridge just ahead of the rig said that the trailer almost tipped over due to the impact, but then came back down. Think of what effect that impact might have on a now damaged bridge.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope someone has comprehensive insurance ...
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