Utah man urges people to secure their loads after metal post hits his windshield

Jun 8, 2022, 5:56 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2022, 10:30 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – A Utah County man said the frame of his car kept a piece of flying metal from breaking through his windshield while he was driving on Interstate 215 on Tuesday.

Brent Hill was driving home from the airport, heading eastbound on the Belt Route, approaching the I-15 interchange in Murray, when he spotted the metal in the roadway. That’s when the truck in front of him ran over it, sending it sailing toward his windshield.

“If it was two inches to the left, I think it would have shattered the window and gone right through me,” Hill said. “The best case scenario, maybe it knocked me out and then I get into an accident on the highway. Worst case scenario, it impales me in the face.”

Hill described the metal as a piece of fence post or railing several feet long. The impact dented the frame around his sedan’s windshield and shattered the section of the glass.

“I think the brunt of it hit right here and came across horizontally,” he said, pointing to the damage. “And the very tip hit here and then ricocheted off.”

“I got away lucky this time,” Hill added.

The Utah Highway Patrol said debris in the roadway is a hazard troopers see every day.

“At those speeds — highway speeds and freeway speeds — that windshield is not that much protection for something that large,” Sgt. James Sellick said about a situation like Hill’s where a piece of metal hits the windshield. “We’ve had stuff go straight through windshields and people get severely injured.”

The Highway Patrol said last year alone, troopers responded to debris in the roadway more than 29,000 times.

“We’ve seen everything from just plywood falling off, sheetrock, refrigerators, toilets, sinks,” Sellick said. “You name it, if it can fall out of a truck, it’s been on the freeway.”

If something falls off your car or truck, or you see a hazard in the roadway, Sellick said to call 911 immediately so that you can give an accurate location. He also said to never enter the road yourself to clear debris.

“Get your load secured,” Sellick said. “Make sure it’s tied down with good straps and that things aren’t hanging off the truck or off the trailer.”

The day after the piece of metal hit his windshield, Hill said it’s sinking in that it could have been much worse.

“I’ve got two kids at home, and, you know, they haven’t seen me in a week and that they get news of something like that,” he said. “What was the last thing I said to my kids? What was the last thing I did with them?”

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Utah man urges people to secure their loads after metal post hits his windshield