'It was terrifying': Mesa woman nearly impaled after metal pole flies into windshield on SR-51

A Mesa woman says if she was sitting differently, she wouldn’t be alive after a metal beam smashed into her car on State Route 51 on Thursday.

On July 22, a pickup truck hauling a trailer was driving down SR-51 with a four-foot-long iron pole in the back. The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the driver hit a bump on the freeway near Thomas Road, dislodging the pole.

The four-foot piece of metal went through another driver's windshield, almost impaling her. It landed in the back seat of her Nissan SUV and got stuck in the roof.

The owner of the SUV, Mandy Poff, wasn't hurt, but its a memory she doesn't enjoy reliving.

"I can’t sleep," Poff said. "I’m terrified to be in a car…It went right by my face. It was terrifying."

Cracked windshield with a hole in it

A loose metal pole from a pickup truck flew straight into Mandy Hoff's SUV.

Poff says she was merging onto SR-51 from Interstate 10 that afternoon when a bump in the road caused the metal beam to fly off of the work truck in front of her.

"It kind of bounced on the road and flipped up straight through the windshield by my face," Poff said. "Went up and lodged itself into my car and into my back seat."

She said she was far away from the truck, but there was nothing she could do.

"It was flying literally, like, in the air like a missile," Mandy said.

Thanks to another driver, she pulled over. After wiping away the shards of glass, she realized miraculously - she was OK.

Even the officer who responded was stunned.

"I can’t believe you’re still alive, I can’t believe this happened," Poff recounted. "I looked over and saw it… it’s just crazy."

Now insurance has been a nightmare, she says because they can’t find the white pickup truck that drove away.

She hopes it’s a call to action to make sure everyone takes the time to secure their load on their truck or car.

"I do a lot of driving," she said. "I can’t avoid freeways and I’m not going to let this stop me. I love my job. It’s something I’m going to have to work through with therapy and time."

DPS wants to remind all drivers to properly secure your load, otherwise, you could hurt someone. And they say you should always retrieve your items if they've fallen out of your car.


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