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CHP: Metal Bar Flew Off Truck Impaled Front Seat Passenger In Leg

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — On Saturday morning, Highway 99 near Fruitridge Road had an incident that seemed like a Hollywood screenwriter had written it.

Investigators say a metal bar flew into a Chevy Impala, broke through the engine compartment and impaled a woman's leg. She was the passenger in the front seat of the car. CHP said the woman is in stable condition.

CHP told CBS13 they are still investigating if the bar flew from a big rig or if it was in the middle of the highway and the truck kicked it up. 

Spokesperson Officer Mike Harris said that truck drivers are responsible for securing their vehicles from the truck itself to the load it is hauling.

"If it's a big rig driver, he's responsible for checking that load before he leaves," Harris said. "If it's a pickup truck hauling stuff to the junk, it's your responsibility to make sure that that cargo is secure."

That's a responsibility some professional truck drivers told CBS13 they take seriously.

"You see something loose pull over. That's everybody's life. You wanna go home and everybody else wants to go home too," Dave Cargill said.

"I always look at it as every time I get in that front seat it's like my first day," Thomas Barker said. "I'm not scared of it like used to be but I respect it."

Harris also said he's glad the situation didn't turn out to be worse than it could've been.

"I'm just so happy that it wasn't worse," Harris said. "Obviously it could have been a much more devastating situation and thank God it turned out the way that it did."

Harris said that the more space you have between other vehicles, the better. The spokesperson said more space between vehicles means more you have to make a decision if something happens.

"You've got to determine if changing lanes is safe, who's going to be in that lane, you have to make all of these decisions immediately," Harris said.

Harris said all drivers have to be mindful of what they're driving around and possibly over.

"If there is debris in the roadway, the expectation is that you're driving with enough due regard to see the debris or to see what's going on," Harris said.

Some drivers said this metal bar is making them put a few car lengths between them and a big rig for a while.

"So I always tell my girls not to follow a truck that has gardening equipment and things like that because it can happen," Susanne Melohn said.

"I gotta have the big picture in front of me," Utu Runku said. "I'm an Uber driver so that's a prime concern right now."

CHP also told CBS13 that different fasteners and straps can be fully functioning and bizarre situations like Saturday's can still happen.

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