FIFE, Wash. - A quick-acting driver barely avoided a devastating injury Wednesday morning when a chunk of debris crashed through his windshield as he was heading up Interstate 5, the Washington State Patrol reports.
Trooper Brooke Bova says the driver was traveling at freeway speeds in a northbound lane of I-5 in Fife when the chunk of airborne debris smashed into his windshield - in a trajectory straight toward his face.
"I saw just a black object fly up off the black top and it went up maybe 50, 60 feet in the air, and at first it kind of seemed like a plastic bag or something so I thought 'huh'," said Mike Norris.
"Luckily for him he saw it coming and was able to dodge - so it didn't hit him in the face or the head," Bova said. "It probably would have been devastating to him if it had."
Norris said before he could really even think, the debris crashed through the windshield, narrowly missing him.
"All I could do was hold on to the steering wheel, shake the glass out of my eyes and look at traffic around me so I didn't kill anybody else," said Norris.
The chunk of debris, which appears to be a brake part from a semi rig, ended up slamming into the driver's shoulder.
"He is pretty sore in the shoulder, and I'm sure he'll have a big bruise. But lucky for him, he wasn't majorly injured. He definitely could have been," Bova said.
She said it appears the debris simply came loose from a large-sized vehicle, so no foul play is suspected.
"I'm lucky to be alive for sure," said Norris. "I'm going to keep the steel as a memento because I feel that it could have taken my life."
Bova said the State Patrol implores motorists to secure loads in their vehicles.
"As troopers we respond to debris in the roadway all the time," she said. "If this had hit a motorcyclist, it would have been absolutely devastating."