PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It is something many drivers have experienced at some point while cruising down the highway, having to swerve at the last minute trying to dodge a piece of furniture that somehow ended up on the roadway.
For one Valley motorcyclist, the encounter with a couch on the freeway nearly cost him his life.
Debris on the highway is not only annoying, but it can also cause a serious accident. Because of an accident one valley man cannot walk and he may never ride his motorcycle again.
"I've ridden 42 years without an accident, I'm done," said Louis Hunt.
Riding free on his Harley, that was Louis Hunt's passion until a couple of weeks ago. He's now got a metal plate and eight screws in his leg, a metal rod in his arm, all the results of a bad crash.
Hunt was riding on U.S. 60 going freeway speeds, merging into the right lane to exit. "About a millisecond after transitioning into that lane a big explosion took place in my head," he said. Hunt says he didn't even see the couch in front of him.
"That threw me into the air, it sent the motorcycle tumbling according to my friend who was riding behind me, I tumbled 3-4 times and slide on my right side before coming to a stop," said Hunt.
ADOT's Traffic cameras catch a lot of random debris on the highways, a couch, a chair, boxes, clothing, many times ADOT posts messages on social media warning drivers of upcoming hazards.
In the past three years the Maricopa Association of Governments says nearly 250 crashes were caused by objects that were dropped on the highway, likely from drivers who did not secure their loads properly.
"If you do happen to lose your load, what we suggest is you move to the right ASAP, and immediately call 9-1-1," said Captain Damon Cecil with DPS.
DPS warns drivers not to enter the freeway on their own, but instead to call for help, and give a specific location and the lane where the object fell. In Hunt's case that call was never made and now hes suffering the consequences. He's now in a wheelchair instead of riding his motorcycle, but he's grateful not only that he survived, but for deciding that day to put on a helmet.
"The DPS officer said because of all my sliding on my right side it would have killed me, it would have ground into my head and skull, and I would have died," said Hunt.
Hunt is continuing to recover from his injuries.