COLOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Lt. Wes Smigieleski returned to work for the first time since last Wednesday morning. That day he was tending to a single-vehicle crash on I-94 when a semi truck hit him from behind.
“I didn’t see it coming,” said Lt. Smigieleski during an interview at the police department. “It just hit me from behind, took my breath out, [and] kinda push me into the dashboard a little bit.”
Heavy lake-effect snow covered much of the highway that day in both Van Buren and Berrien counties. Two pileups occurred on both the eastbound and westbound lanes near the Hartford exit. One of them involved three semi trucks and eight cars.
“When the weather gets bad I don’t see semis slowing down that much,” said Lt. Smigieleski. “Granted the ones that are probably older and know the way but a lot of these younger drivers that are out there, it’s like we’re inconveniencing them.”
Smigelski was taken to the hospital immediately after getting hit and was released later that day. He took the rest of the week off from work to rest at home. Meanwhile, the other driver was ticketed for reckless driving. Smigelski said he hopes to see more truck drivers held accountable for their actions.
“I just want people to slow down,” said Lt. Smigelski. “Take a minute and think that when you’re driving that ‘hey slow and steady wins the race.'”