VENTNOR — The driver of an 18-wheeler tractor trailer mistakenly drove onto the Boardwalk in Atlantic City early Wednesday and traveled more than 2½ miles before realizing he was stuck along the boards.
A Ventnor police officer noticed the 18,000-pound rig stuck on the Boardwalk, just blocks from where it ends, Chief Douglas Biagi said.
The driver was cited for driving an unauthorized vehicle on the Boardwalk, Biagi said. He was not drunk, he added.
Police identified the driver as Antonio Menjivar, 60, of Dallas, Texas. A press release said he entered the Boardwalk at Albany Avenue in Atlantic City and drove west until he stopped because he was lost and unfamiliar with the area.
The CRST Expedited truck’s trailer was empty. Biagi said the driver dropped off a load before getting on the Boardwalk.
No one was injured in the incident, and there is no obvious structural damage to the Boardwalk, Biagi said.
“The Boardwalk itself is going to have to be inspected by an engineer. Atlantic City is also going to have to do the same,” Biagi said.
Menjivar apparently became stuck because there were no ramps from the Boardwalk wide enough to exit safely.
“If he could have made the turn off Washington Avenue, he would have driven on the Boardwalk and nobody would have known,” Biagi said.
Instead, the Ventnor Department of Public Works had to remove about 100 feet of railing and benches to safely free the tractor trailer, he said.
The cab was detached from the trailer and removed first. It took Public Works about four hours to get enough sand under the trailer to make it able to make the turn off the Boardwalk, Biagi said.
It was freed about 10 a.m.
“I saw the truck drive away, and I knew it was stuck,” said 78-year-old Carmen Guidaoa, who takes near-daily walks on the Boardwalk.
He has lived in Ventnor since the 1970s and has never seen anything like this, he said.
“I saw everybody (from Public Works) working on it,” Guidaoa said.
“We weren’t aware that the truck entered the Boardwalk at Albany,” Atlantic City police Sgt. Kevin Fair said. “We did have a call that there was a truck on the Boardwalk, but it was gone when officers arrived.”
This isn’t the first time this summer a vehicle was stuck on the Boardwalk, Biagi said.
In late July or early August, a small building-supply truck also got onto the Boardwalk at Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City and ended up at Washington Avenue in Ventnor.
That driver was also cited for driving on the Boardwalk, as well as for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to report, Biagi said.