A Squamish mom had a lot to be thankful for this weekend after she narrowly avoided being killed by a massive metal pole that flew off a truck and crashed through her car windshield on a North Vancouver bridge Friday (Oct. 7).
Susan Milne was about a quarter of the way across the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing Friday afternoon, heading to an appointment with her four-year-old son, when the steel beam came flying at her, seemingly out of nowhere.
“I heard a loud crashing noise. And then in my peripheral vision, I saw a large ... steel beam coming in my direction,” said Milne. “Everything happened so fast.”
She blinked at the moment of impact. When she opened her eyes again, “glass was everywhere,” she said. The metal beam had gone through her windshield and crashed through the car above her shoulder, missing her by inches.
Milne said she turned around to make sure her son – who had been asleep in his car seat – was OK, then crawled out of her car through the passenger door.
Two men – including one who had been driving directly behind her – ran over to the car to make sure Milne and her son were alright.
The Squamish mom said she was covered in glass from the smashed windshield but was overwhelmed by how lucky she had been.
“I thanked God and my angels for saving my life and protecting my son and I,” she said.
Police in Vancouver called the terrifying incident a "bizarre chain of events” that happened when a truck travelling northbound on the bridge lost a massive metal beam from its load. The beam fell to the bridge deck, "bounced off the concrete, then over the median and into oncoming traffic," police said in a press release.
The beam "then impaled the windshield of a vehicle," narrowly missing Milne.
“It’s a miracle nobody was killed or seriously injured,” said Sgt. Steve Addison, spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department. “We think the driver of the truck likely had no idea what happened and continued on to the North Shore.”
Firefighters who were the first emergency responders on the scene helped Milne brush off glass and reassure her young son.
Milne said she was concerned, however, that no ambulance showed up in over 30 minutes. She was later told the ambulance had been diverted to a more urgent call.
“That was eye opening,” she said, adding she’s glad neither she nor her son had more serious injuries.
Police ended up driving her back to her in-laws’ home in North Vancouver.
“Everyone who came on the scene was saying how lucky I was, and I should buy a lottery ticket,” she said.
Milne said she’s concentrating on how thankful she is to be alive and unharmed “and not dwell on what could have happened.”
“I know this is something I’m going to be thinking about for a long time,” she said. “I don't think Thanksgiving weekend is ever going to go by where I don't remember this incident and feel especially thankful for my life and for my son's life, and really value everything that I have, and feel grateful for it.”
Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department are now attempting to identify the truck driver. Police are asking witnesses, or anyone with dash-cam video who was on the bridge between 1:50 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, to call police at 604-717-3012.