had every intention of posting an entry about my birthday weekend in Pittsburgh for my next entry, but then something happened today which pre-empted that. I had picked up a load this afternoon in southern Indiana and was taking it to Georgia for delivery tomorrow morning. I was travelling along I-64 through downtown Louisville. For those of you familiar with the city, I was going beneath the pedestrian overpass beside the Galt House hotel on the waterfront, eastbound.
I had been talking with welfy on the phone for the past couple of hours, relieving her boredom at work as well as mine. My friend Robin had tried calling me earlier in our conversation but I ignored it, with the intention of calling her back later. Now she was calling me again, so I decided to see what she wanted. I'm not quite used to my new phone, so I completely screwed-up the call-waiting switch over and accidentally hung both of them up. I called Robin back; she was on her lunch break from work and was wanting to shoot the breeze. I told her I had been talking with Welf and that I 'd call her back a little later. Upon hanging up, I hit the speed dial to call Welf back. It was at this moment that I was entering the overpass. Long, pretty icicles were dangling from its underside. While listening to the phone ring in the earpiece of my headset, I heard a VERY LOUD THUD.
I wasn't sure what had hit me at that exact moment, but skilled-instinct had already assumed control, making preparations. I was already reacting to the THUD independent of any direct input from my brain. My right foot had already come off the accelerator and was covering the brake. My left foot had already engaged the clutch and my right hand had instinctivley moved from the steering wheel to the shift-stick and had pulled it out of gear, preparing for an immediate downshift. I performed an immediate scan of my mirrors and the road ahead of me. All of this occured within a split second, because in the next split-second I felt something land on my left arm, holding the steering wheel.
When you look at something and you don't see anything which makes sense in the moment, it takes a few seconds to register. I must've looked completely bewildered at that moment, reacting to some unknown striking of my vehicle from the outside and the striking of my person on the inside, in what was essentially the same instant. I glanced down at my arm to find it speckled with tiny, shiny shards of glass. Quickly, though, all of the things which had unfolded prior to this moment clicked together like the pieces of a puzzle and I glanced above me.
My truck is outfitted with a skylight in the roof of the cab. It's a standard feature of Freightliner trucks. The fates of the highway decided it was time for a convertible. One of the icicles had fallen as I passed underneath, blasting through the skylight like a 60mph ice bullet.
To give you an idea of how quickly all of this happened, take into consideration that Welf still hadn't answered her phone. In the time that I had pushed the speed dial and the two or three rings before she picked-up, all of this had occured. When she finally answered, I was all like, "You're not going to believe what just happened." I quickly recounted to her the events above and began assessing the damage inside the truck while talking with her on the phone. I talked with her for maybe a few minutes then had to let her go so that I could begin calling the necessary people to report what had just happened. Aside from the obvious damage to the skylight and the glass strewn about the cab, there didn't appear to be any mechanical damage to the truck. Since I was on a downtown freeway, I made a quick judgement to continue driving untl I was out of the city. There's a rest area on the east side of Louisivlle, which I planned to make my stopping point to further assess the damage to the truck rather than stopping on the shoulder of the highway. In this time, I made phone calls.
I first called our Road Breakdown department. Luckily, the hold-time wasn't very long and I got through rather quickly. There were no Freightliner shops in Louisville, so the next one in route was in Lexington. Which was fine with me, it's virtually home anyway. Secondly, I called my dispatcher and made her aware of the situation and told her that I would update her after I got to the shop and was given time estimates for completion of the work. I then called Robin back, since she was on lunch and told her events.
By now, I had reached the rest area so I said goodbye to Robin and parked the truck. I made my way into the bunk and dug out my camera. It was a mess back there. From where I had just been home for the weekend, my various bags were covering the bed, in turn covered in glass and ice. In the first of the photos below, you can see one particularly large fragment of ice still resting on one of my cases.
The largest chunk of ice I found was resting on the flloor, just in front of the bunk.
A good deal of glass had also fallen into the passenger seat, directly below the hole in the skylight....
...but it was obvious that with the forward motion of the truck, the icicle had basically shot through the glass and travelled backward, taking most of the glass with it as it blasted through. There was a good deal of glass strewn all over the top bunk as well.
I began removing the various articles from the bunks, because, so far, I wasn't seeing that much ice. It soon became apparent that there was a lot more. It had blown through the glass with so much force that it had travelled all the way to the rear of the bunk, bouncing off the back wall and falling behind the items covering the bunks.
In the case of this next photo, ice and glass and travelled over the top bunk, hit the back wall and had collected in a portion of bedsheet that was hanging between the wall and mattress.
I collected together all of the major chunks of ice that I could find and gathered them together in a pile on the floor, for a group photo of sorts.
I took some photos from the exterior as well.
There doesn't appear to be any body damage to the truck.
Not even a scratch.
Which leads me to believe that this was about as freaky of a freak occurence as could have happened. It doesn't appear that a larger piece of ice fell which glanced off the truck, only falling through the glass. In fact, chances are, the fiberglass would've absorbed a good deal of the impact from a larger piece, probably not resulting in any damage to the glass. An icicle fell at the precise moment to strike a window on a truck which was moving at a high rate of speed. It a space no wider than 12 inches and not longer than a few feet. Pretty amazing.
hat's more amazing is that no one was hurt. Had it struck the glass on the left side of the window rather than the right, I would've gotten a face full of glass moving at me at 60mph. Currently I'm not training anyone, or someone could have been sitting in the passenger seat. Worse yet, someome could've been sleeping or sitting in the bunk where the larger chunks of ice came hurtling through along with a majority of the glass. Worse still, if I had been injured by the flying glass/ice, I could've lost control of the truck on a busy city freeway.
Tonight I'm in a motel room in Lexington. I debated staying with a friend or something, but I figured why sleep on a couch when Werner will give me the room where I can be comfortable. The glass to replace the window won't arrive until 11am tomorow and the glass installer won't put it in until 1pm. After that, the truck cannot be driven for a few hours so that it will seal properly. So, I'm shutdown until 5pm tomorrow night.
How was your day?