VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is finding out more about the fatal crash Thursday when a tractor-trailer plummeted off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the efforts to recover the driver’s body.
Family friend Chris Cooper told WAVY’s Erin Kelly the victim was 45-year-old Daawuud Hakim of Chesapeake. He said he knew Hakim for four years and learned he had died Friday morning.
“I got mixed emotions, you know, I question myself. Do I still want to drive any more? At one time when I loved it, and it’s just, you know, just too much. I’m just speechless,” Cooper said.
He said Hakim drove for Big Daddy Drayage of Portsmouth and was engaged to be married. Employees at the company declined to comment on the crash Friday.
Cooper said he met Hakim at the port and they saw each other almost every day.
“I felt like I was a teacher and he was a student, you know, helping him out get his own truck, get his business together. He’s really going to be missed,” Cooper said. “We joked and kid around all the time, like we came up together.”
Frank Borum of Atlantic Intermodal said Hakim worked as an indepedent contractor at his former company about two years ago.
“When he drove for us, he was a very good driver, very much on time. He seemed to be very alert. I’m surprised that something like this would happen,” he said.
Officials at the CBBT confirm the trucker who died was hauling a container owned by Maersk Line Limited, and inside the container were tomato plant stick holders.
WAVY.com was told workers continue cleaning up the roadway where the truck crashed with a maintenance vehicle before breaking through the bridge guard rail. Tom Anderson with the CBBT said the railing has not been repaired, but crews have finished pouring concrete for the curb, which anchors the guard rail.
Crews will likely lay concrete on Saturday and place the vertical poles for the rail, called stanchions, in the concrete. Once that is done, the horizontal railings will be attached.
Crofton Diving Corporation has been hired to dive the site where the truck sits at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. Anderson said the divers plan a two-part operation during slack tides, which happen between low and high tides.
“Every six hours when you have a high or low tide you have slack water for one to two hours and that is much safer for divers because you don’t have to fight the currents,” said Bob Crofton.
A team of ten will leave from Virginia Beach around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, to take advantage of the slack tide around 8 a.m. During that dive, they hope to recover the victim. During the following slack tide they will try attach cables that will be used to bring up the cab and trailer.
Crofton Diving expects it will not be until Sunday that they can bring out the crane barge to lift the tractor-trailer out of the bay, where it remains under about 28 feet of water.
Still, there are a lot of unknowns.
“Not know a lot about the conditions when we get there because we don’t know if the cab is damaged, if the trailer is damaged and what kind of thing will you have when you try to lift all this, it’s 80,000 pounds on a flexible trailer,” Crofton said.
If the team can’t get the body out during the first dive, then it will be brought up when the truck is lifted out of the water, Crofton said.
WAVY News’ Erin Kelly is gathering more information on driver Daawuud Hakim. Tune in to WAVY News 10 at 11 p.m. for those details.