Semi dragged minivan for 16 miles in the snow

Matthew Menz said the semi truck was barely moving when his minivan became wedged under it on Interstate 75.

By Ben Hooper
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GRAYLING, Mich., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A Michigan family of four avoided serious injury when their minivan became wedged behind a semi truck and was dragged for 16 miles.

The Roscommon County Sheriff's Department said Matthew and Pamela Menz were driving with their two adult children on Interstate 75 when they rear-ended the semi truck while having snow-related visibility issues about 2 a.m. Wednesday.


Pamela Menz called 911 and told dispatchers the van had gone dead, including its horn, and the family members were not able to see out of the vehicle well enough to give deputies their exact location.

Deputies were able to locate the truck near the Grayling exit, about 16 miles from where the van first struck the semi. Pamela Menz was on the phone with 911 dispatchers for 23 minutes.

Deputies said the driver of the truck had been unaware of the collision with the van until the vehicle was stopped by deputies.


Matthew Menz told "it felt like an eternity" while the van was being dragged.

Menz, a truck driver for 20 years, said the semi was barely moving and did not have its hazard lights on when the vehicles collided. He said he does not believe the truck should have been on the road.

"Our responsibility [as truck drivers] is safety to the public and communication," he said.

He said the van's tires were worn down to the metal and the vehicle was covered by several inches of snow by the end of the ordeal.

"It just looked like a great big snowball from all the blowoff," he said. "It could have been dramatically worse... somebody was watching out for us."

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