NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Emergency crews rescued a driver Thursday morning after his truck went over a guardrail on the I-264 Berkley Bridge in Norfolk.
The driver was identified Thursday as 20-year-old Benjamin Tyler Siemiantkaska, of Virginia Beach. Virginia State Police say Siemiantkaska was charged with reckless driving (driving too fast for road conditions).
Police dispatchers tell WAVY.com they received a report at 10:13 a.m. of a car that had gone over the guardrail on the eastbound side of the bridge.
State Police confirmed Thursday morning that a green truck crashed into the jersey wall west of Tidewater Drive, flipped over the wall and fell 75 feet to the rocks below.
Chief Julian Williamson with Norfolk Fire and Rescue said the truck was near Water Street, and that the driver — later identified as Siemiantkaska — was trapped inside following the accident.
WAVY’s Andy Fox reported that Siemiantkaska was rescued from the truck and taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Andy spoke to Siemiantkaska’s wife Thursday afternoon. She says her husband has two broken ribs and a lung contusion and will staying at the hospital overnight. Siemiantkaska is stationed aboard the Norfolk-based USS Anzio, as an IC3 Interior Communications Electrician.
Over the phone, Siemiantkaska told Andy what he remembered from the crash.
“As I was coming around the corner, my back tires slid out from under me,” he said. “I just remember facing the guard rail and the truck rolled over, sparks started flying through the windshield at me. I remember flipping up on the front end and then I blacked out and woke up hanging out the window, looking up at the bridge.”
Siemiantkaska said he doesn’t know how he’s still alive.
“Were you thinking about your unborn child?” Andy asked him.
“Yes I was, and the joy you feel in your heart. Extremely happy… he won’t grow up fatherless and how happy I am to be a husband for her.”
Eyewitness George Fiscella was jogging in the area at the time and described the crash to 10 On Your Side.
He said he saw the truck the truck hit the rocks under the bridge, flip backwards and end up against a pillar of the bridge.
“I came around the turn and I see someone’s in it.” Fiscella said he went up to the truck after the crash, and spoke with the driver. “I said ‘Are you ok? As long as you are ok just stay tight.’ He confirmed everything was ok; he said he couldn’t get out.”
Norfolk Police spokesman Daniel Hudson described Siemiantkaska’s injuries to 10 On Your Side as “serious, but non life-threatening.”
“He is a lucky man,” Fiscella said. “Guardian angels working overtime for this man.”
VDOT traffic cameras showed emergency crews on the Berkley Bridge shortly after the accident was reported. A viewer image captured from a Facebook live showed the green truck below the bridge.
According to VDOT 511, all eastbound lanes were closed for a brief period as crews worked to clear the scene.