Windy Day Leads to Tragedy on Virginia Bridge

47-year-old Joseph Chen didn't survive after his rig plunged into Chesapeake Bay
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2017 11:29 AM CST

A blustery day on a Virginia bridge led to a truck driver's death Thursday, the AP reports. Joseph Chen, a 47-year-old employee of Evans Transport, was crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in his tractor-trailer around 12:30pm, shortly after weather reports had indicated a Level 1 wind advisory, meaning winds were clocking in at over 40mph, the Virginian-Pilot reports. The North Carolina man was driving his truck southbound when his vehicle went over the side and into the 45-degree Chesapeake Bay. As his truck began to sink, Chen was spotted standing atop it, offering hope he'd survive the freak accident. But after a Navy chopper pulled him from the water, he died en route to the hospital.

Just 30 minutes after Chen's truck was swept off the bridge, the wind advisory was raised to a Level 2, which means winds had crept up past 47mph. Between 1964 and 2011, 10 vehicles driving over that bridge have met similar fates, with only one survivor out of the bunch, per Virginian-Pilot records. A truck driver who crosses the bridge a couple of times a week tells WAVY "on a windy day, you can feel it" and that his truck will sway from left to right, depending on the wind's direction. Meanwhile, Chen's wife, Billie Jo, tells the Virginian-Pilot her husband "was off the chain." They would've marked their 10-year anniversary in April. She added her husband, whom she said was "awesome," had two kids from a previous marriage. (A truck fell from the sky in San Diego.)

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