Two women are fortunate to be alive after a plank of wood flew off the top of a truck’s bed cap and into the windshield of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport they were riding in, while traveling on the Ohio Turnpike on Thursday.
Although the plank pierced the windshield, it miraculously didn’t strike either driver Kim Awada nor the front passenger, and neither was injured according to Cleveland-based Fox affiliate WJW.
The entire incident was recorded by two cameras in Awada’s car, one mounted on the dash and one behind at the rear window. The truck in question, carrying ladders and wood, passed her Mitsubishi near the Streetsboro entrance in the next lane over to the left. As it did, two planks flipped off the truck. You can see Awada swerve further to the left to try to avoid them in the clip on the news channel’s website.
One of the planks missed the car, but the other one sliced clean through the windshield and landed near the center console, narrowly avoiding the passenger seat.
The driver of truck wasn’t aware he’d lost part of his load, and continued on according to Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Ray Santiago. Santiago eventually caught up with the driver, provided additional straps and issued him a citation.
The penalty for driving with an unsecured load in Ohio is currently pretty lax: “a minor misdemeanor that includes a fine, but no jail time,” with the fine ranging from about $120 to $160, per the Dayton Daily News. A new bill proposed in the Ohio General Assembly would lift that fine to $500, and would subject offending drivers to the possibility of a $2,500 fine and jail time up to 60 days in the event that an injury or property damage resulted from the debris.
Between 2016 and 2021, 7,000 crashes in Ohio were attributed to 3,000 unsecured loads, resulting in more than 700 injuries and six deaths, Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO reported in May.
One of the most obvious yet useful pieces of driving advice my dad ever gave me was that when there’s a truck in front of you carrying shit, you keep your distance and change lanes if possible. But in this scenario, that wouldn’t have made any difference — the truck was passing and the Mitsubishi was a helpless bystander in its wake. Hell, even if I was following this particular truck, I probably wouldn’t have expected junk to fly off the top of the cap. It just doesn’t visually scream “potential hazard” the same way a truck bed overflowing with loose detritus does.
Thankfully, this particular story didn’t end in the worst of ways. But it’s nevertheless another reminder to remain alert behind the wheel for the unlikely but still very possible chance of airborne debris. And if you do regularly haul stuff around, for the love of god, please secure that shit.