Semi uses runaway ramp after brakes fail

One woman spotted the truck and saw it hit the runaway ramp.

WOLF CREEK PASS - A semi-truck driver was forced to use a runaway truck ramp this week while driving over Wolf Creek Pass.

"I just crossed over the top of the pass and I could smell brakes and there wasn't anybody around," said Rachel Smith, who was behind the trucker. "As I got closer I could see a truck and he was just smoking like crazy, and I knew then he was in trouble."

 

 

Smith lives in Durango and has traveled over Wolf Creek Pass many times over the past 16 years, but never anything like she did on Wednesday night.

"I knew there was a ramp coming up and I thought well, if he can hit that ramp he'll be fine, and he drove right past the first ramp. So I really started worrying."

She followed him at a distance, as he hit speeds of more than 60 miles an hour. She was hoping he would make it to the next, and final runaway truck ramp. 

"The second one is it, after that it's a switchback. He would have been off the cliff," Smith said.

She watched in amazement as he made it up the ramp and then lost the load of beer he was hauling.

"After that load came out, as I was walking up there it was just an absolute sprinkler, a fountain of beer. It was everywhere. I hollered at him and asked if he was OK and he said he was fine. He was just, just really shook up of course."

The Colorado State Patrol says the driver, 25-year-old Adam Catic, of Missouri, was the only one in the truck and was not hurt. He did, however, lose about 41,000 pounds of beer.

Troopers says he did the right thing by getting onto the ramp and avoiding potential disaster.

"Fantastic driver, I mean how he kept that thing on the road without rolling it or hitting the side of the mountain or anything else I'm not sure," said Smith. "But he got to the second ramp and he made it up there." 

Earlier this summer, the Colorado Department of Transportation put out a warning for truckers traveling over Wolf Creek Pass. 

According to the agency there were 49 semi-truck crashes on the west side of the pass between 2011 and 2015. Two of them resulted in fatalities.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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