The manager of a shipping company whose semitruck rolled over last week called road conditions at the accident site an “anomaly” and said the company plans to raise the issue with the city.
The accident occurred on Thursday afternoon near Deadman's Curve at the entrance to Pier 2 on Rezanof Drive. Paul Gill, who drives for APL LLC moving and shipping company, was turning into the pier’s entrance when the truck suddenly turned over onto its side.
Mike Mizell, Kodiak manager for APL, said the truck weighed more than 52,000 pounds and was full of frozen fish.
He said the accident was a combination of the speed of the driver and how the load was stacked as Gill made the turn.
Mizell said that although Gill was not speeding, “it doesn't take a whole lot with this turn for that to be a little tippy. … It's an anomaly.”
He said the entrance to the pier from Rezanof can be tricky to navigate because of the way the road slopes away from the corner.
“We are going to address that with the city as we move forward,” Mizell said, adding that they have moved more than tens of thousands of containers and an accident like this has never happened.
He said the accident was “unfortunate,” adding that thankfully the driver and the contents were unharmed, and there was no environmental damage.
Gill, who has been driving tractor-trailers for six years, said it was the first time he’s been involved in such an accident. He described the rollover as the longest and scariest few moments of his life.
He said he had to kick out the windshield to get out of the truck, and he suffered only a few minor cuts and some soreness where the seat belt held him in place.
“I’ve made this turn thousands of times without incident,” Gill wrote on a Facebook post. “I don’t really know what happened. But what I do know 100% for sure; I walked away without a significant injury because I was wearing my seat belt.”
Police described the accident as “slow moving” — as Gill was slowing down to turn into the entrance to the pier, the truck likely rolled over as the result of the load in the truck shifting.
A 911 call was made to the police at 4:30 p.m. The Kodiak Police Department and Kodiak Fire Department both responded to the incident.
An advisory message from the Kodiak Police Department sent out at 4:53 p.m. notified community members that the entrance to Pier 2 would be closed “for the foreseeable future” because of the accident. It warned residents to avoid the area. Rezanof Drive remained open.
By 9:48 p.m., the entrance to the pier had been reopened.
Last Thursday’s accident was one of seven within city limits that the Police Department has responded to so far this month, which is average, said Tim Putney, the city’s chief of police. He said police have responded to about 90 accidents this year.
“Most collisions are due to driver inattention, but a few were a result of speeding or an impaired driver,” he said.