Plywood from unsecured load impales man's car: 'The windshield exploded'

SEATTLE - A Seattle man is lucky he wasn’t seriously hurt after a large piece of plywood came crashing through his windshield on the freeway this morning.

“I think I have a little pin prick in the middle of my forehead. I think I got really lucky. Really, really lucky,” said Christopher Matheson, who took pictures of the aftermath as a piece of plywood came flying through his windshield.

“There was a really loud boom, which I wasn’t expecting as the windshield exploded,” said Matheson.

He says the plywood was about three feet by four feet and lodged itself into the windshield stopping a few inches from his face.

“Probably within six inches,” said Matheson.

Matheson says around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning he was driving southbound down a stretch of SR-167 near 84th on his way to Federal Way.

“I was in the middle lane, the passing lane,” said Matheson.

He says a truck in the lane to his right was carrying plywood when suddenly a piece became unsecure and flew through the air about 20 feet, then around vehicles travelling at least 60 mph.

“I didn’t know if it was going to drop next to me or if it was going to pass over the car kind of at the last second it came crashing into the windshield,” said Matheson.

The impact shattered the windshield of his gray Mazda and he says made visibility nearly impossible, yet he managed to somehow pull off to the shoulder.

“I was lucky no one hit their brakes in front of me and no one plowed to me from behind,” said Matheson.

He says a good Samaritan saw what happened and pulled over to help Matheson get the plywood off his car. Matheson says he called police and they arrived and took a report.  However, neither Matheson nor the good Samaritan were able to get a good look at the truck and provide much detail to police.

“It was fairly tall and predominately white,” said Matheson, adding he believes it was a delivery vehicle of some kind.

Matheson says as a lawyer himself who defends clients involved in accidents, there is nothing more he can do besides repair his windshield and be grateful he managed to walk away unhurt.

“Nothing worse happened than a destroyed windshield and a whole lot of glass in the car,” said Matheson.

Trooper Chase Van Cleave with Washington State Patrol says if you see an unsecured load you can always call 911 and police will respond. Getting as much information about the vehicle like a license plate will help too, and unsecured loads can mean the driver of that vehicle will be cited.

“It’s a traffic infraction. If we get a chance to stop you, contact you and it’s called in by someone else on the road and ice come and determine it’s your vehicle the fine is $228,” said Van Cleave.