I77 SAFETY: Construction debris flies into driver's windshield

- FOX 46 Charlotte is continuing to learn more about the dangerous problems on Interstate-77. A viewer sent the station a picture of a piece of metal wedged into a windshield after seeing FOX 46 Charlotte's report Wednesday night about safety concerns in the construction zone.

Related: Getting Results: Clearing up confusion for I-77 drivers over changes to HOV lane

It can be absolutely terrifying. One moment you're driving on the highway. The next, a large piece of metal flies into your windshield, and lodges in just inches away from your face.

"If somebody was in the passenger side, they definitely would have been injured," Chris Dooley said, the viewer who sent FOX 46 Charlotte the pictures.

Dooley said he was driving right in front of a pickup on I-77 northbound in the construction area when he heard a loud noise.

"I ran over something, it made a huge noise and I looked in the rearview mirror and I saw an object fly up and go right through the windshield of this guy following me on his passenger side. I was for sure somebody was going to be injured. We both pulled over to the side of the road," he explained. 

Dooley said he checked on the driver who he said was a 17-year-old young man.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but it was a close call.

"A piece of it came through and actually went through the armrest and ripped into leather. He was definitely lucky," he said. 

Dooley said this happened in March - around St. Patrick's day - when he was driving to Virginia to visit family.

He said he could never quite figure out what had flown into the windshield of the truck behind him until he saw Wednesday night's story on FOX 46 Charlotte describing these pieces of metal as pavement markers that hold light reflectors in place.

"That's why I sent in the pictures. I didn't know what it was and then I saw the newscast and said, 'I know exactly what that is.' It went right through the windshield of the guy behind me," he said. 

FOX 46 Charlotte asked NCDOT and I-77 Mobility Partners what drivers should do when construction materials damage their vehicles.

NCDOT - the only one to respond by the time of our 6 p.m. newscast - sent us a tweet with a link where folks can file their claim. FILE HERE. 

I-77 Mobility Partners responded after our deadline with this information:

“If a motorist has any concerns regarding the construction, they may contact Sugar Creek Construction at 980-337-2399.”

Dooley said he just wants a safer place to drive so he doesn't have to face a piece of metal next time he's on I-77.

"Nobody wants to run over things in the middle of the road. You never know what's going to happen," he said. 

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