SELDEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A young Long Island driver says she escaped serious injury when roadway debris catapulted through her driver’s side window.
Metal and steel debris believed to have been kicked up by a county mowing crew on busy Nichols Road exploded the window, sending the car careening into the median.
The driver, Natalie Dimasi, says she went into shock.
“My initial reaction was I thought I was shot. I checked myself, made sure I wasn’t bleeding, I called my mom. I was like, ‘Mom, I think I’ve been shot,'” she told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Dimasi, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, was terrified as others pulled over to help. Police quickly responded.
“[The debris hits the side mirror] and ricochets right through my window, and if I didn’t have sunglasses on, I could have been blind,” Dimasi said. “I was covered in glass, my forehead, my eyes, my mouth.”
Dimasi suffered only cuts to her leg and knows she is lucky.
“This could have killed me. That’s the severity of all these stories,” she said.
There have been multiple stories about debris flying into cars over the years, including two personal incidents for CBS2’s McLogan and her family.
In 2015, a two-pound chunk of steel flew off a truck on the Long Island Expressway. A year later, a heavy set of industrial pliers from a state DOT crew destroyed the windshield of McLogan’s vehicle.
“Something needs to change. There needs to be a road blockage. There needs to be cones out,” Dimasi said.
A Suffolk County spokesman tells CBS2 the Department of Public Works has been made aware of the incident and is looking into the matter.
“Stop cutting corners. Pick up the trash,” Dimasi said.
Dimasi says there is so much litter that it is dangerous for road crews to mow before collecting the highway trash.
“I really hope this is a learning experience, I think, for everyone,” she said.
Dimasi’s Jeep is in the shop. She must pay for repairs.
The state and county say they regularly remove trash and debris from medians.