COVINGTON, Ky. -- WCPO has obtained video of a car falling from the top deck of the Brent Spence Bridge to the lower deck after a semi swerved across all lanes of the roadway.
The video recorded Saturday afternoon shows a semi sharply turn to its left across all of the southbound lanes of the bridge, forcing a sedan off the bridge with April McDonald, her fiancé Jarrett Holifield, and her dad inside. Covington police say the semi swerved to avoid another accident.
The vehicle fell onto the lower deck and into the northbound I-71/75 lanes near the Fifth Street exit in Covington.
WATCH video of the crash in the player above.
"It's a blessing," McDonald told WCPO's John Genovese four days later. "I'm just glad we made it out."
Holifield said a witness to the crash came to their aid, breaking a window to get him out before he was able to help get McDonald out.
"I closed my eyes and I just opened them when we were already on the other bridge," McDonald said.
Six people in total were transported from the crash to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, including Holifield and McDonald.
McDonald sustained a fractured pelvis and needed three stitches on her leg, while Holifield sustained only minor injuries. The couple was relaxing at home Wednesday night, reunited with their young son.
"I'm just happy I can be here for my son and be here for his mom," said Holifield who is set to marry McDonald early in 2015.
WCPO showed the video of the incident to John Jenkins, a professional truck driver based out of Trenton, Ohio.
"See, you can see the car coming in right there with its lights on,” the 46-year-old pointed out right before watching as the 18-wheeler swerves, avoiding one accident and inadvertently causing another.
"The confined space across the bridge, the narrowness of the lanes," describing the bridge as "probably about an 8" on a 1-to-10 scale in terms of danger.
Former Covington Fire Chief Buddy Wheatley recently said the bridge is more dangerous than a burning building.
The director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, Jerry Wray, doesn’t disagree. He said Saturday’s accident is another sign the bridge needs to be replaced.
“We have not stopped with our emphasis on the need to replace the bridge and get a new bridge," Wray said.
But while there may be issues with the bridge, Jenkins said it's important for all motorists to be mindful while on the road. He helps instill that message into young drivers as an instructor at the Ohio Business College in Middletown.
“We always teach young drivers to establish a following distance, even if it’s difficult to maintain,” he said.
Jenkins said in perfect conditions, the stopping distance for a tractor trailer is about 425 feet, or more than the length of a football field. On wet pavement that distance is about 850 feet.
Student drivers spend about 160 hours training for their license, he said. That includes classroom work, training and time on the road.
Jenkins said in the state of Ohio truck drivers only need 10 hours behind the wheel in actual on-road situations to get certification . Students at the Ohio Business College and other schools usually require students to spend at least 15 to 20 on the road, though.
The actual skill test to get a license consists of a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and a road test, and takes up to 90 minutes, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles .
"We do our best to make sure anyone we put on the road knows what they're doing so they don't put themselves or anyone else at danger," he said. "But sometimes accidents happen."
The Covington Police Traffic Unit is handling the investigation.
A view of the crash that closed I-75 at the Brent Spence Bridge from the nearby Radisson Totel. Photo courtesy Courtney Thornton.