Mesa woman nearly impaled after metal pole smashed into SR-51 windshield

A woman from Mesa says if she sat differently she wouldn’t be alive after a metal beam slammed into her car on State Route 51 on Thursday.

On July 22, a pickup truck pulling a trailer was lowering the SR-51 with a four-foot-long iron pole at the rear. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the driver hit a bump on the freeway near Thomas Road, dislodging the post.

The four-foot piece of metal slipped through another driver’s windshield, nearly impaling him. He landed in the backseat of his Nissan SUV and got stuck in the roof.

The owner of the SUV, Mandy Poff, was not injured, but it’s a memory she doesn’t like to relive.

“I can’t sleep,” Poff said. “I’m terrified to be in a car… It passed right in front of my face. It was terrifying.”

A metal pole detached from a pickup truck flew straight into Mandy Hoff’s SUV.

Poff says she was joining SR-51 from Interstate 10 that afternoon when a bump in the road blew up the metal beam of the work truck in front of her.

“It kind of bounced off the road and flipped right through the windshield next to my face,” Poff said. “I got in and got lodged in my car and in my backseat.”

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

“It was literally flying, like through the air like a missile,” Mandy said.

Thanks to another driver, she stopped. After wiping away the shards of glass, she miraculously realized that she was fine.

Even the officer who answered was stunned.

“I can’t believe you’re still alive, I can’t believe this has happened,” Poff said. “I looked and saw this… it’s just crazy.”

Now insurance has been a nightmare, she says because they can’t find the white van that’s gone.

She hopes this is a call to action to make sure everyone takes the time to secure their cargo on their truck or car.

“I drive a lot,” she said. “I can’t avoid the freeways and I’m not going to let that stop me. I love my job. It’s something I’m going to have to overcome with therapy and time.”

DPS would like to remind all drivers to properly secure your cargo, otherwise you could injure someone. And they say you should always get your items back if they’ve fallen out of your car.

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