Police say miracle saved motorcycle driver
SLIDELL – Cameras at a Slidell business caught footage of a nasty crash between a motorcycle and an 18-wheeler that veered off the road recently.
Slidell Police responded to the accident Friday involving an 18-wheeler and motorcycle at the intersection of Highway 190 west and Carnation Street. Officers found the motorcycle driver on the side of the road, a downed power line and the 18-wheeler in a ditch with the motorcycle buried underneath it.
Police said officers at the scene noticed the truck driver, 56-year-old Timothy Duimstra of Michigan, was slurring his speech and was unable to maintain a steady balance. Officers said Duimstra told them he passed out behind the wheel and veered off the road, hitting the motorcycle which was waiting to turn onto the highway.
Police said the impact flung the motorcycle driver off his bike, throwing him onto a grassy area on the side of the road. The 18-wheeler dragged the motorcycle and pinned the bike underneath the front tire.
The motorcycle operator was in critical condition and rushed to University Hospital in New Orleans. He was listed in serious condition Tuesday, and is expected to survive.
Police called the driver's survival a "miracle" given the circumstances.
“There is no doubt in my mind that his guardian angel was with him during the accident,” Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said. “Had it not been for the fact the impact flung him from his motorcycle, and luckily causing him to land the grass, he would not be alive today.”
Police said they suspect Duimstra was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the wreck happened. A blood sample was taken from both drivers for testing, though impairment isn't suspected on the motorcycle operator's part.
Officers charged Duimstra with first-degree neglect injury, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and driving while intoxicated.