A BC woman says she was nearly killed when a metal beam flying off a transport truck on Highway 1 smashed through her windshield and remembers she barely had time to blink — and when she opened her eyes, she was covered of broken glass.
“Everything happened so fast. I didn’t have much time to consider what my options were,” said North Vancouver resident Susan Milne.
She had been driving south along Jernarbejdernes Mindebro when it happened just before 2pm on Friday.
Vancouver police believe the beam flew off an oncoming truck, bounced off the bridge deck and bounced over the center barricade — before coming to rest in Milne’s windshield.
Photos provided by police and Milne show that part of the beam went directly between the driver’s side window and the headrest, just centimeters from Milne’s head.
The L-shaped piece of metal appears to have been stopped by Milne’s steering wheel before it could fully enter the car.
“I turned to look back at my son to make sure he was okay,” she said. “He had been sleeping and he just woke up at the noise. And I assured him that everything is fine.”
NO AMBULANCE CAME
Other drivers rushed to Milne’s car and called 911.
She says District of North Vancouver firefighters were the first responders to arrive, followed shortly by Vancouver police, but no ambulance ever came.
In a statement, BC Emergency Health Services says it “dispatched the nearest available ambulance, but the first unit was diverted to a more urgent life-threatening call.”
Another ambulance was caught in the traffic jam caused by the accident.
After waiting on the bridge deck for 30 to 40 minutes, police officers drove Milne and her son home, and then she made her own way to the hospital.
She was left with some cuts and bruises and her son escaped unharmed.
“Had my life been hanging by a thread and needed emergency medical attention, I don’t know what would have happened,” Milne said of the ambulance delay.
THE POLICE ASK the driver to come forward
Vancouver salutes says it’s not clear if the other driver was immediately aware of what had happened and believes they continued toward North Vancouver.
“We would like this person to voluntarily come forward and speak with our investigators, but we will also review traffic and dash cam video in an attempt to identify the person if they don’t come forward,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an email. “We need to conduct further investigations and understand all the circumstances before drawing any conclusions.”
It is not clear what consequences, if anyone, the driver of the vehicle that lost the beam may be exposed.
Milne is shaken, but grateful that she and her son were not seriously injured – or worse.
“I missed by inches on my left side, but there was the beam in front and this impact kept going forward… I don’t even want to think about it,” she said. “I’m incredibly blessed to be here right now.”