No road for a semi

IMG_0938 revThe shortest distance between two points may not always be the safest nor easiest route.

That fact became all too apparent just before noon last Tuesday when a tractor trailer driver headed to the Dollar General store in Marlinton was routed by GPS mapping software from Rt. 84 to Rt. 92N at Frost and then onto the very narrow Hill Road.

Jaime King, of Winston Salem, North Carolina, a driver for Werner Enterprises, of Omaha, Nebraska, was pulling a 58-foot Dollar General trailer as he wound his way through the Hill Country.

“This is my third time in West Virginia,” King said. “When it [GPS] told me to take the back road, I said, ‘Lord, Jesus. Lord, have mercy.”‘

King’s years of experience as a driver paid off as he made it within about a mile of the Gordon Dilley Road entrance off Rt. 28 – before a hairpin turn and an icy spot put an end to his trip for the day.

“My back tires caught the edge and slid,” King said. “I was able to stop it so I wouldn’t turn over. The man above was with me.”

Several trailer tires on the driver’s side were off the ground, while the back tires on the passenger side were in the creek.

Once King got the truck stopped, he found out that a GPS mapping program is not the only service that can fail you here.

“My phone doesn’t work. My computer doesn’t work,” King said Wednesday afternoon – 24 hours into his ordeal.

But what seems to never fail is the kindness and hospitality of the people.

“Everybody has been so nice to me,” King said. “I said, ‘Lord, I thank you for that.’

“One of the families even let me stay at their house last night, and the lady got up this morning and fixed a good breakfast.”

Elkins Truck Service arrived on the scene Wednesday afternoon and, in a matter of minutes, King was on the road for the final leg of his narrow journey.

“They picked up the backend [of the trailer] and I slid the tandems to the front,” King said. “They told me I was one heck of a driver to get through this road as far as I did.”

King made it to the Dollar General in Marlinton Wednesday about 2:30 p.m. – relieved and appreciative of the help he had received.

“I have met the most friendly people,” he said. “They have been really nice to me.”

Jaynell Graham may be contacted at

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