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Detroit — Police have identified the driver of a waste hauling truck who died after striking and collapsing a pedestrian overpass Friday morning.

Around 6 a.m. Stanford Michael Doll, 54, of Almont was traveling northbound on the freeway when his waste hauling truck struck the Cathedral Street near Joy Road. The structure collapsed across both northbound and southbound M-39, killing Doll. No one else was injured in the crash.

"We're pretty confident about what happened. For one reason or another, the back of his truck was fully extended when it struck the overpass. It kind of hooked into the bridge and then the truck continued through with enough momentum to pull the bridge down."

Doll was an employee of TLC Waste Disposal Services in Romulus, Shaw said.

"Our investigation is pretty much done," Shaw said. "We'll be doing stuff with the commercial vehicle division to try to keep something like this from happening again. There won't be any prosecution."

According to witnesses, the truck driver staggered from the cab of the truck and then collapsed on the shoulder of the roadway. He was transported to Sinai-Grace Hospital where he died. An autospy is expected Saturday, said Mary Mazur, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.

Doll would have lived if he had been wearing a seat belt, Shaw said.

"He wasn't wearing a seat belt," said Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police."Seat belt ... he lives."

The Michigan Department of Transportation said the Southfield Freeway will be reopened to traffic some time later Friday. Debris has been removed on the northbound side, Shaw said. Crews were working on the southbound side Friday afternoon.

"We'll have it opened some time later today," MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said. "An inspection of the bridge will take place once the structure is removed."

Authorities shut the freeway in both directions from Interstate 96 to Joy. The collapse was not due to any structural issue, according to officials.

"We received a call at about 6 a.m. that some type of waste hauler had hit the pedestrian overpass with its boom up," Cross said. "It struck the overpass and knocked out the entire structure. No one was on the overpass or driving beneath it at the time. The driver has been taken to a local hospital."

Cross said the driver later died at the hospital.

The twisted form of the pedestrian overpass was stretched across both directions of the Southfield Freeway.

Barnika Cage, who lives a block northeast of the bridge, woke up at 5:40 a.m., heard the nearby train, then a big "boom."

She got up and came down the street and saw the bridge had collapsed. A truck, which had been heading northbound, was adjacent on an angle. Cage saw a man get out of the truck, stumble, then fall face first on the grass along the freeway.

"There was blood all over his face," Cage said. "I was just praying he was OK."

She described the man as in his late 40s. She said there was a lot of traffic and it took about 35 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Cage said her 17-year-old daughter, DeShanna, walks the bridge every day to go to Cody High School. She has to be there at 7 a.m. so Cage felt relieved the bridge hadn't collapsed later.

"I'm glad nobody was on that bridge or under it," she said.


A pedestrian bridge has collapsed onto the Southfield Freeway early Friday morning after being struck by an oversized truck, and one person has died. Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News

Cage said her 17-year-old daughter, DeShanna, walks the bridge every day to go to Cody High School. She has to be there at 7 a.m. so Cage felt relieved the bridge hadn't collapsed later.

"I'm glad nobody was on that bridge or under it," she said.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was among those in traffic near the bridge at the time of the collapse. He was seen walking near the collapsed bridge afterward.

The Lions confirmed Stafford was in a vehicle that was among the first to come to the bridge after the collapse. He didn't see the bridge go down and was unhurt, the team said. He stopped as the police were arriving. He was on his way to the Lions' Allen Park practice facility.

In the center median, a concrete column has been broken in half and is lying on its side. Traffic on the freeway backed up for miles and Michigan State Police pushed traffic off onto the service drives.

Jay Timmons, who lives on Archdale, a street behind the freeway, was jolted awake before 6 a.m. to a loud noise.

"I jumped straight out of bed," Timmons said. "I thought one of my neighbors' houses had exploded. Our house shook."

Timmons looked out the back of his house and saw something on the freeway. He thought a truck had been in an accident and saw the bridge had collapsed when he arrived at the scene.

"Everybody was getting out of their cars, and asking, 'Is everybody OK?' 'Is anybody under the bridge,'" Timmons said. "Everyone was concerned."

Had it happened earlier, kids could have been hurt since so many gather on the bridge and wait for the bus to arrive.

"I'm glad it wasn't during school hours," said Michael Wade, who lives across the street from Timmons.

Staff writer Candice Williams contributed.

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