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Summerford man recounts harrowing encounter with debris


On Aug. 3, Maurice Hurley was driving home to Summerford from his job at Bull Arm. It was a drive he’s made many times, but this trip would be different.

Cruising home around 9 a.m., Hurley was rounding a turn when he met an oncoming transport truck. Little did he know there was a piece of steel on the road that in an instant would come within two inches of his steering wheel.

“It only took a split second,” he told The Pilot. “This was in front of my face.”

Hurley was referring to a piece of steel — a guard that keeps dust and debris off the brakes of a vehicle — 18 inches long by about nine inches wide that was flipped into the air by the oncoming truck, and sliced through his windshield.

“I didn’t know what happened, it was too fast,” he said. “There was glass all over the floor and the rearview mirror was beat off.”

The steel hit the top of the windshield and turned, slicing in through the windshield like a knife.

Amazingly, Hurley remained calm, turned on his signal light and pulled to the shoulder of the road.

He was the lone occupant of the car.

RCMP officers would later tell him that remaining calm probably helped save his life as panicking could have caused him to veer into oncoming traffic or over the embankments on the sides of the road.

“I got out of the car and couldn’t believe what just happened,” Hurley said.

Much to Hurley’s surprise though none of the vehicles passing him stopped to offer assistance, even when he tried to flag someone down.

“I’d say about 30 cars passed me until finally someone stopped and asked if I had a flat tire,” he said. “I told them, ‘Not quite,’ and showed them the windshield.”

The good Samaritans also couldn’t believe that Hurley had escaped injury and the steel didn’t shatter the windshield.

Looking back on it, Hurley is surprised the steel didn’t hit the windshield flat and go back over the roof.

“One of the RCMP officers that came said he had seen a lot of stuff hit and go through windshields, but he had never seen anything like that,” he said.

Hurley knows he’s lucky to have escaped unhurt from the incident, but admitted he’s more cautious to keep his eyes open for debris or materials lying on the road.

“My son travels to and from St. John’s for school and I always tell him he has to keep his eyes open for the other vehicle and what’s happening around him.”

As for the piece of steel, it’s sitting on a shelf in Hurley’s garage — a reminder of how fortunate he is to be safe and sound.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

Cruising home around 9 a.m., Hurley was rounding a turn when he met an oncoming transport truck. Little did he know there was a piece of steel on the road that in an instant would come within two inches of his steering wheel.

“It only took a split second,” he told The Pilot. “This was in front of my face.”

Hurley was referring to a piece of steel — a guard that keeps dust and debris off the brakes of a vehicle — 18 inches long by about nine inches wide that was flipped into the air by the oncoming truck, and sliced through his windshield.

“I didn’t know what happened, it was too fast,” he said. “There was glass all over the floor and the rearview mirror was beat off.”

The steel hit the top of the windshield and turned, slicing in through the windshield like a knife.

Amazingly, Hurley remained calm, turned on his signal light and pulled to the shoulder of the road.

He was the lone occupant of the car.

RCMP officers would later tell him that remaining calm probably helped save his life as panicking could have caused him to veer into oncoming traffic or over the embankments on the sides of the road.

“I got out of the car and couldn’t believe what just happened,” Hurley said.

Much to Hurley’s surprise though none of the vehicles passing him stopped to offer assistance, even when he tried to flag someone down.

“I’d say about 30 cars passed me until finally someone stopped and asked if I had a flat tire,” he said. “I told them, ‘Not quite,’ and showed them the windshield.”

The good Samaritans also couldn’t believe that Hurley had escaped injury and the steel didn’t shatter the windshield.

Looking back on it, Hurley is surprised the steel didn’t hit the windshield flat and go back over the roof.

“One of the RCMP officers that came said he had seen a lot of stuff hit and go through windshields, but he had never seen anything like that,” he said.

Hurley knows he’s lucky to have escaped unhurt from the incident, but admitted he’s more cautious to keep his eyes open for debris or materials lying on the road.

“My son travels to and from St. John’s for school and I always tell him he has to keep his eyes open for the other vehicle and what’s happening around him.”

As for the piece of steel, it’s sitting on a shelf in Hurley’s garage — a reminder of how fortunate he is to be safe and sound.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

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