Archived Story

Driver has run in with piece of ‘mountain’

Published 11:37am Friday, April 5, 2013

COAL GROVE — As Steve Facemyer sees it, there was somebody up there looking out for him just as something up there was coming down on him as he was driving along U.S. 52 on his way to work.

About 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Facemyer, 38, of South Point, was driving westbound on U.S. 52 in a 2007 Toyota Camry near the Ashland-Coal Grove Bridge getting ready to switch over into the left lane to head toward Kentucky.

“I saw a mountain coming down and I put my hand over my head and the rock landed on the car,” Facemyer said.

Seeing cars in the left lane, Facemyer stayed put to avoid sideswiping any of them and let Mother Nature take its course.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the landslide,” he said. “I ducked my head to shield me from anything coming over. I thought it would go through the passenger side.”

Facemyer was wrong.

“It hit the roof of the car and caved it in,” he said.

For about an hour one of the westbound lanes was closed as Ohio Department of Transportation crews cleaned up the rocks that had tumbled down.

“We do have a barrier wall along the shoulder of 52,” Kathleen Fuller, spokesperson for ODOT District 9, said. “This piece skipped over the barrier. Crews were in the general area and were able to go down and move it into a ditch.”

Fuller cited the freeze-thaw cycle of the late winter-early spring season.

“It’s where we have a lot of rain or a fluctuation in temperatures,” Fuller said.

Facemyer suffered only cuts and bruises and was transported to King’s Daughters Medical Center where he was released that day.

“If I hadn’t seen it coming, I probably would have gotten it a lot worse,” he said. “I could duck and shield myself. I am lucky. I had an angel on my shoulder.”

  • bobcat boy

    I spent over 30 years living in the tri-state area, and for as long as I can remember, ODOT has been cleaning up landslides at this site. It is going to take someone getting killed for them to take it serious and fix the problem. Rather than playing catch-up every time some more of the hill comes tumbling down, how about be pro-active and utilizing some of the new technology in place to prevent rock slides. I have seen these used in the private sector, most notably by the railroads going thru mountain passes. There are solutions out there to fix this problem, but since it is in southern Ohio, ODOT chooses to keep it very low on the priority list. If this problem existed anywhere else in the state, it would have been corrected years ago.

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