Late one night, we had just finished detouring traffic, placing new temporary lane markings and moving a few dozen concrete barrier walls, when I found a car. Not that it was a perfectly new car; it has a few scrapes and dents that were probably not there a few minutes before.
Night traffic on the interstate can be light; especially at 3:00 am. That's the reason most interstate repairs are done at night. In the day, the traffic can back up for miles, which leads to frustration, road rage and way too many calls to the local highway office. When you add the increased number of accidents, the best solution is to mandate lane closures are performed at night. Besides the lessened traffic flow, the officials are sound asleep, so they don't receive any nasty phone calls.
I was making my final return to the start of the setup to verify everything was placed correctly. This involved about a four mile trip, since the area was rural and there were few places to cross to the other lanes. The approach to the setup was near an entrance ramp, so as I climbed the slight grade and reached the top of the ramp, I found a car. It was skewed in the left lane at the end of the taper, so it was out of traffic. I pulled into the lane, climbed from my truck and approached the car. It was empty.
I thought for a few moments, then started looking. Since the section of elevated interstate was at the start of a bridge, the first thought I had was that the car hit the rail, spun around and the driver was thrown over the railing. I walked to the rail, shone my flashlight around, but didn't find anybody. There was water below, so I started wondering if the driver had drowned in the water below.
I heard a car approaching and found a sheriff deputy pulling into the lane closure. Somebody had seen the car hit the rail and called. I explained what I had found, we made another look around and the deputy called a wrecker. The wrecker arrived within minutes, pulled the car onto the flatbed and left, with the deputy right behind. I made sure the barrels were straight and left to join the crew as they readied everything for the next shift.
I never found out what happened. I did read the paper to see if there was a drowning, but nothing was reported. I guess it was a drunk that figured it would be easier to explain leaving their car on the highway instead of spending the night in jail. It was that, or outstanding warrants. Either way, the driver, obviously, didn't want to explain their situation to the law. Still, I'm curious. I wonder what happened.