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like a bullet

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?

Sheesh. Good thing you weren't harmed.

Totally gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Thank God you were unharmed. Miss you lots and am glad you are okay.

iss you lots, too. One of these days maybe I can get a chance to stop in Columbus at a reasonable time of the day for some hanging-out.

Damn. I was in Lexington tonight and had dinner at Kobe. If I'd known you were in town, we could have had some sushi.

amn. That would've been tons better than the pizza I had for dinner here at the motel.

Kobe. Is that the place in Beaumont Center off Harrodsburg Road?

if the giant icicle had remained intact and impaled your pillow on the bunk like a frosty spear or something, ...like a clear message from some mysterious forces!

But seriously, dude, glad things fell as they did and no worse.

Re: woulda been cooler

he whole thing freaked me out enough as it did. Obvious signs would've proably pushed me over the brink... although it would've made for some hella cool pictures!

Obviously it was God giving you a sign that you need to clean your truck!

I might have to give God a stern talkin'-to if this interferes with our Valentines Day weekend and Tony's concert on Saturday, though.

never did get around to vaccuming the truck when I did my tidying up at home this weekend. Cleaning up all that shattered glass kinda forced me to.

Dude. That's, like, Final Destination shit. I'm always afraid some freak occurence would happen while I'm driving, so this story gave me goosebumps for sure.

A couple summers ago, my mother was driving down a back-road on a perfectly sunny day when half of a tree beside the road broke off and fell onto her car, totally destroying it--but just the passenger side of the car. She survived with a few scratches. Ironically, the person who found her and pulled her out of the car was a funeral director!

And people wonder why I have this fear of random objects falling and hurting my loved ones!

Wow, that's just incredible. Glad you weren't hurt.

It's crazy to think that this could really happen to anyone, no matter what they're driving; I'm surprised I've never heard of it before now.

[Oh, I don't think I ever properly introduced myself... I'm a friend of snaxxx... she linked to one of your entries, and it was interesting enough that I got caught up reading back a ways. I've always been wanderlust-y myself, and since you seem like an interesting guy who gets around quite a bit, I figured I'd go ahead and add ya. :) ]

ot so much in a freak-occurence sort of way, but things being dropped on moving vehicles from freeway overpasses is such a common occurence that on Halloween, our company shuts down all of the trucks that night unless it's a VERY IMPORTANT load.

Foraml introductions not necessary but certainly appreciated. The more the merrier I say. Glad to have you around. :)

Like I said over in Welf's entry - if you'd had a trainee in the back, the curtain would either have absorbed most of the impact, or bounced it back, possibly in your direction. Kismet, I'd say.

eah I saw your comment over there, I just hadn't had a chance to respond because I've been writing this behemoth. And... I'm not sure.

It's true that if the curtain had been drawn, that it may have caused to glass to bounce around in the cab causing injury to the driver. However, the force with which the ice appears to have flown into and through the cab, I'm not so sure that it wouldn't have torn the curtain down.

Of course, being the first of the week and the middle of the day, chances are, the student would've been driving and I would've either been sitting in the passenger seat or in the bunk, with the curtain open. *gulp*

Holy Hell! I'd play the lottery this week on principle since you already beat the odds once ;)

I really need to detail all the crap that happened with me and my old someday. Nothing as singularly amazing as this incident, but taken cumulatively it's something quite uncanny.

I'll be working in Lex tomorrow of course... it'd be cool to meet up around lunchtime if ya like... lemme know either way.

xcellent idea! Maybe I'll hafta pick up some PowerBall tickets tomorrow before I leave town.

I'd totally be down for some lunch if you wanna come out here and get me (Days Inn, Athens-Boonesborough Rd). Hrrrmmm, Pure Gold, which is right next door used to serve lunch back in the ye olden days. I wonder if they still do? ;-)

You still have my number? If so, just give me a call. I'll just be sitting around the room 'til the truck's ready in the evening.

How scary - Glad to hear that you are ok though!

It's one thing to read about what happened, BUT to see the pictures. HOLY FREAKING SHIT MAN!

You're a lucky sombitch today!

Srsly, I'm glad you're fine and all. I'm sure the noise had to be wild too. I've had stuff hit my windshield that I was sure a gun had gone off.

nother thing that amazes me about the whole thing is that I never "heard broken glass". While I'm sure a good deal of that has to do with the fact that it's standard auto safety glass that doesn't shatter like regular glass, but I also think it something to do with the force of the collision. I keep using the analogy of a bullet, but I think that's most accuarte. It literally burst through the glass leaving the holes and taking most of the glass backwards with it into the bunk, spraying it around the cab as it went.

Crazy shit. You would have definitely made stories of the weird had you wrecked.

EEP! I'm glad you're okay.

woah! what an extreme thing to happen!!

I am glad you are ok! that would have freaked me out big time.

and belated happy birthday?

Tres bizarre! I'm glad that you weren't hurt.