Owner-operators Randy Moyano and Ann Burt (pictured) run in a 1998 Peterbilt pulling a Fontaine RGN with Superior stinger axle for heavy/overdimensional loads, leased to Greentree Transportation. I met the pair a week ago today in Lebanon, Tenn., where I took this picture. They were deadheading west then all the way to Oklahoma to pick up an oversize load that would take them back to North Carolina. By Wednesday morning this week, they were stopped in a rest area on I-24 nearing Chattanooga, and the weather “started getting bad and we thought we ought to get on the road and get ahead of it,” says Burt.
What shortly followed was a harrowing ride right into the path of a tornado that crossed the interstate in front of them, caught on video via their webcam, hosted at the justin.tv site here.
While Moyano and Burt’s rig was loaded at near 160,000 lbs., the same couldn’t be said for their Oklahoma-based pilot escort driver David Harrison, of DLH Pilot Service. “I’ve got to give props to our escort. He stuck right with us through it all,” Burt adds. “You could see branches flying – at the right at one point sparks were flying where power lines had been ripped out.”
If you’re on Facebook, you can check out the vid on my profile (I posted it there this morning) here. If you can’t get to it there, send me a friend request. The rotation of the storm passes ahead of them just ahead of the 2 min. mark. You’ll hear Burt saying “What was that?”
Oddly enough, Burt and Moyano were also featured as users of the Hotels4Truckers.com site in the feature I wrote about the new service, created by driver Dan Fuller, himself a witness to the massive storm that came through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham Wednesday.