‘I can’t believe this’: Truck driver recounts harrowing moments dangling off bridge

Written by on May 18, 2024

ABC

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — The driver of a semi truck that careened off the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisiana is speaking out for the first time since her miraculous 40-minute rescue.

“It happened so fast,” Sydney Thomas told ABC News Louisville affiliate WHAS.

“I was like, I can’t believe this, that I’m really hanging over the river,” she said.

It all began when the driver of a pickup truck, 33-year-old Trevor Branham, swerved to avoid a stalled car on the bridge. Branham then slammed into the semi Thomas was driving.

As a result, the semi crashed through the railing, leaving Thomas dangling above the Ohio River.

“I’m going to have to jump. I can’t swim either,” she told herself. “I didn’t know how bad it was. I thought the trailer was still on the bridge, I didn’t know it was like this,” she added, using her hands to demonstrate the steep angle.

Thomas said she wondered what would happen to her 5-year-old son if she died.

“It was really hard for me to think about like leaving him behind on Earth,” Thomas told WHAS.

A crew of firefighters from the Louisville Fire Department rushed to the bridge to help rescue Thomas.

“It was terrifying to be that high up in the air and all you see is the Ohio River,” she said.

Firefighter Bryce Carden reached Thomas first.

“He was like, ‘Are you a praying woman?’ I was like ‘Yep,’ and we just started praying,” she recalled.

She added: “Sometimes you pray and I’m guilty of this, I pray and I don’t think God is listening, but he was that day.”

Branham was charged with endangerment and driving on a suspended license, according to authorities.

Thomas said she hopes to get back on the road in June.

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