On Jan. 18 at about 5:30 p.m.

On Jan. 18 at about 5:30 p.m.

‘It’s a miracle,’ says trucker

On Jan. 18 at approximately 5:30 p.m., an eastbound semi-truck slid into the Lizard Creek Bridge on Highway 3.

  • Jan. 26, 2017 12:00 p.m.

By Phil McLachlan

On Jan. 18 at approximately 5:30 p.m., an eastbound semi-truck slid into the Lizard Creek Bridge on Highway 3 west of Fernie. Upon collision with the bridge, the truck jackknifed, causing the cab to detach from the trailer. The driver was ejected from the cab and fuel began to leak onto the highway. The highway remained closed overnight and was reduced to a single-lane of alternating traffic at approximately 4 a.m. the following morning.

The driver sustained minor injuries and after being treated at Elk Valley Hospital, was later released.

Southeast District Traffic Services Sgt. Don Erichsen said the collision damaged the Lizard Creek Bridge, which was assessed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure before the highway was reopened on the 19th.

“The truck struck both of the bridges’ guardrails, essentially destroying them,” he said.

The matter is still under investigation.

Dmitry Popov was the driver of the semi-truck, and remembers only segments of the incident.

“First I remember when it jackknifed me, the next thing I remember was standing up in the middle of the bridge, and it was raining and cold,” said Popov. “I was in my socks, no shoes on. I was just in a t-shirt. I walked toward my cab, found my jacket, and put my jacket on. I didn’t feel any pain in my shoulder or anywhere. After that I found my warm sweater, so I took my jacket off, put my sweater on and then put [my] jacket over it. Then I started to look for shoes, I found one winter boot, put that one on and couldn’t find the other one…”

“I don’t know how that happened, it was so fast, like in one second.”

Popov was approached by other drivers, and after asking if he was okay, they encouraged him to sit down. After insisting that he was okay, Popov agreed to rest and sat down on his hood that had broken off from his cab. Soon after the ambulance arrived and immediately began assessing him.

“I was like a zombie,” said Popov.

When Popov showed other drivers the photograph, they could not believe he survived.

Popov suffered minor injuries, including a two-inch cut that required 11 stitches. Ambulance workers believe Popov landed on his right shoulder when he was thrown from the vehicle, which explains the soreness and bruising around this area.

“It’s a miracle of God, that’s all I can say,” said Popov.

It will take a while for Popov to fully recover, and in the meantime he is at home with his wife and six children in Spokane, Washington.