Sunday. First, the weather was lovely. Second, the Solo Trials course was a blast. I was deep into 3rd gear, and tripped the radar gun through the finish at 90+ mph. Whoo-hoo! There was this monster sweeper that I was running somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 mph. THAT was a blast. The car loved it, the driver loved it. Gotta do one of those again.
Okay, so after that, we loaded up and headed for home. I-75 southbound from “up north” back to the Detroit area on a Sunday afternoon is a drive fraught with peril under the best of circumstances, and when you’re towing a 26′ enclosed car hauler, with the combined rig weighing in somewhere in the general vicinity of 17,000 lbs, it’s just that much more perilous.
So I’m motoring along in the far-right lane, with my speed in the general vicinity of 70-72 mph (speed limit is 70). We’re a bit south of Saginaw, not quite to Frankenmuth, and the highway is 3 lanes each direction. Ahead of us is an empty space and then all three lanes are wall-to-wall vehicles. When this black Cadillac SRX kinda-sport-ute-thing (it’s car-based, not truck-based like the Escalade) goes flying past at 110-115 mph, sees the traffic ahead, and dives from the far left lane all the way to the right shoulder, thinking he’d go around there. He’s followed shortly by a Saginaw Police cruiser with lights and sirens. Well, as soon as he started his move right, I lifted and started braking — and a good thing, too, because he got to the shoulder, saw it was partially blocked by a blue Chevy van, and still under hard braking tried to reverse course back to the left. Which tripped the SRX and it rolled. Just past the hard shoulder, the ground slopes away quite a bit, and he did about 1.5 rolls in the air before hitting and finishing with about 5 rolls and a half-flip with a twist to land partly on the wire fence and partly into a sign for a business on the other side of that fence. The SRX has front, side, and side curtain air bags, and they ALL deployed. Could not see inside of it despite no glass still present.
2nd and 3rd cop cars come past me, all three are now on the shoulder ahead of me, and the cops get out, guns drawn. I’m now stopped, but decide I don’t want to be there, and pull away, back onto the road and on for home — looking back to see another 6-8 cop cars coming up behind. It looked like the chase scene at the end of “The Blues Brothers”.
We found out today that the runner was wanted in Detroit for an attempted murder outside a church earlier Sunday, and he was spotted by Saginaw Police at a gas station. When the officers moved to talk to him, he instead jumped into the car and fled. The chase was only a couple miles long. He was treated and released into custody at a local hospital, and Detroit PD picked him up this morning.
Stopping 17K lbs from highway speeds requires a fair bit of distance… the lesson here, of course, is you have to pay attention to your surroundings when driving, and you also need to know the capabilities/limitations of your equipment.