Wawa resident Kevin Byrnes is thankful to be alive after three airborne objects-two of them axes-struck his vehicle at approximately 1:40 p.m. July 24.
“I was travelling southbound on Highway 17 heading toward Sault Ste. Marie and approximately 10 kilometres north of Batchawana Bay, and I observed something sliding out of a vehicle (directly in front of his), and it looked to me like it was a piece of cardboard.”
“I wasn’t really watching the vehicle (in front of his), I was keeping an eye on the object and I was trying to identify it, and the next thing you know my windshield exploded,” Byrnes told SooToday.
“There was glass everywhere, I looked and there was an axe on my dash inside the windshield.”
The axe had flown through the passenger side of the front windshield.
Byrnes pulled over immediately.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how an axe would come out. I looked and the other vehicle had already gone around the corner so I don’t even know what type of vehicle it was.”
Byrnes inspected his truck, a Ford F 150 towing a small trailer, to see if there was any other damage.
Indeed there was.
“My hood was split and there was another axe sticking in the front of the truck, so then I couldn’t believe it, I thought ‘what’s going on here, how did two axes fly out of a vehicle?’”
Byrnes, the sole occupant of his vehicle, was uninjured.
“Thank God no one was with me because they would have been hurt for sure because some of the glass was embedded right into the seat...there was glass everywhere but I wasn’t hurt at all.”
Byrnes called 911 and OPP arrived on the scene.
While waiting for police to arrive, Byrnes walked up the side of the highway and discovered a four by four sheet of quarter-inch plywood as the object that had flown out of the vehicle ahead of his before the axes struck.
“I guess those axes must have been laying on top of the plywood, and the wind must have got underneath it, because when I saw that plywood it was flying at least 10 feet above that vehicle.”
“I did not see those axes coming at all. If it would have been a little bit higher and closer toward me, it would have killed me. I didn’t see them coming.”
Byrnes told us he wondered what his insurance company would think, as he did not have the time to get a good description of the vehicle from which the plywood and axes flew.
“I thought ‘how do I explain two axes sticking in my vehicle?’ I just stayed put until the police came and the police officer was looking at it and he couldn’t believe it.”
Byrnes said police told him without a description of the other vehicle, it would be almost impossible to track the motorist down.
Byrnes, at his family’s urging, posted photographs of his damaged vehicle on Facebook, hoping eyewitnesses would come forward, and also as a way of telling people ‘this is what happens when you don’t secure your load.’
“Secure your load. This could’ve been a fatality,” Byrnes said.
Meanwhile, Byrnes said his insurance company has been good about the whole matter so far, the Wawa man estimating $8,000 in damage was done to his vehicle, now under repair in a Sault auto body shop.