HIAWATHA, Iowa -No one was hurt when two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon left a car dangling off a bridge above Interstate 380.
Police said westbound traffic on Blairs Ferry Road NE was backed up to the east side of the bridge around 12:45 p.m., and an eastbound van was waiting to turn left onto the ramp to I-380. A motorist stopped to leave a gap for the van to turn and waved the driver through, but a car in the outside lane came through and hit the van, witnesses told police.
The impact sent the car up the sloped concrete barrier and through a chain-link fence. It stopped with its nose on the snowy embankment leading down to the interstate and its back tire caught on the bridge.
Hiawatha Police Chief Dennis Marks said police were intially concerned the car might break loose and slide down into traffic on I-380. One northbound lane of the interstate was closed as a precaution, and patrol cars lined shoulder between Highway 100 and Blairs Ferry Road, ready to shut down the interstate if the car tumbled onto the roadway.
Firefighters hooked a chain to the car and a railing on the bridge until a tow truck arrived to clean up the mess.
"Once you would make it down that embankment, you don't have anything to stop it from going down on the interstate," Marks said. "It's all snow there. They're very lucky."
Police said the people inside the car were already out by the time they arrived.
Names of the people involved were not immediately released. The two in the car and the driver of the van declined medical treatment at the scene.
Marks said the busy intersection is one of a few in the metro where traffic clogs and other motorists leave gaps so turning traffic can proceed.
"People just need to understand that even if somebody is waving you through, it will be your fault (in the case of an accident)," Marks said. "It's your responsibility to make sure you can make the turn safely."