B.C. couple shaken after concrete blocks strike car under Highway 1 overpass

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A close call in Abbotsford is raising concerns about a potential highway hazard. A chunk of rock or concrete smashed into a couple's car as they drove under an overpass along Highway 1. Jennifer Palma reports – Jun 1, 2018

oA B.C. couple had a startling moment while driving on Highway 1 early on Wednesday morning.

Around 2 a.m., Leon Gemma and his wife Karen were heading westbound through Abbotsford when their vehicle came to an abrupt stop just under the McCallum Overpass.

They say their car was hit by a big piece of concrete.

“Out of the clear blue, it was like somebody let a bomb off,” said Gemma.

“All of a sudden, I was basically knocked unconscious for a second because the airbags deployed. And when I came to, we were doing 100 kilometres an hour. We went from that to being stopped in less than two seconds.”

He adds they were hit more than once.

“The reason we were stopped is the first item was a piece of concrete that hit the front windshield, directly over my wife’s head, and then, within a half a second of that and the airbags deploying, we hit a huge piece of concrete that was on the road already.”

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Gemma says the chunks of concrete were about a foot-and-a-half in size, and that they weren’t the only vehicle affected.

At least three others were hit as far as he knows.

READ MORE: ‘Our car was inundated with liquid poo falling from the sky’: Kelowna driver

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told Global News that Abbotsford police alerted them to rocks on the road at approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday.

They said the ministry’s maintenance contractor cleared the road between 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.

They say the rocks did not come from the overpass and there is no visible damage on the overpass.

Staff have since inspected the bridge.

“As the rocks most likely came from another source, the ministry encourages anyone with concerns to contact local police who are investigating the incident,” they said in an email statement.

Gemma says despite where the rocks may have come from, the experience has left him rattled and he is now nervous about driving under any overpass.

“When the airbags deploy, you’re basically knocked unconscious for about three, four, five seconds. It rattles you.”


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