Home > Oulu Couple Speeds Over Crumbling HWY 13 to Safety
Oulu Couple Speeds Over Crumbling HWY 13 to Safety
FOX 21 News, KQDS-DT
Friday, June 22, 2012 - 9:00pm
Parkland, WI, USA -
PARKLAND-Tourists hoping to complete "The Lake Superior Circle Tour" face giant detours because of Wednesday morning's rainfall.An entire section of Highway 13, 30 feet across and 30 feet deep, crumbled during flooding at the exact moment a couple from Oulu drove over it.Rodney and Mary Ann Lahti say although they had a few x-rays done, no one was severely injured.Their Chevy Impala, however, is totaled, Rodney said. The car's underside was completely crushed during the unplanned stunt that is probably more fitting for an action movie than a pair of grandparents heading on a trip out of Northern Wisconsin."Well, we were all excited about this trip because we were celebrating our 54th anniversary," Mary Ann Lahti said."The blacktop was all there," Rodney added. "We're going along and all of a sudden this happened and the car's uncontrollable.""It dropped down into that but my momentum kept me going that we didn't go back into the river – it kept going," Rodney said."You could tell from the back wheels – it was wiggling the car. And we were lucky that it stopped. It just kind of stopped in front of the house there," Mary Ann said.The couple are the last people to pass over the area of Highway 13 that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates could take months or even longer than a year to repair."There was a State Patrol Officer there and a Douglas County Deputy there and they couldn't get over how fortunate we were that we weren't fish in Lake Superior," Rodney said.As soon as Glenn Lahti got the call about his parents, he said he had to see the road for the story to make sense."They kind of launched off, like a big ski jumper going off a ski hill, if you will. But at least they didn't end up in that big hole in the middle of the road," Glenn said."I think it's safe to say that they could have easily been killed in that accident there," Glenn said.And, rescheduling their anniversary vacation, Rodney and Mary Ann say they can just visit the giant hole to remind them how lucky they are."We made it safe over that hole but I really felt when we made it safe on the other side, there was a dear lord who had protected us. I felt we had been on the Red Sea," Mary Ann said.The hole is located just a few miles North of Highway 2 on Highway 13.