Flying ice shatters windshields, causing hazards on Twin Cities roads

Image 1 of 5

Photo credit: Tom Cornelius 

A Dakota County Park Ranger had a close call this week after a chunk of ice flew off a semi-truck and shattered the windshield of her patrol car, leaving the car damaged and the woman shaken up but unhurt.

She was on morning duty at the time, heading east on Highway 50 toward New Trier when she pulled parallel to a semi, watching the entire thing unfold in agonizing slow motion. 

"It literally lifted up and dropped," Samantha Mamer said. "I kind of closed my eyes for a second and opened up and my windshield was caved in." 

There was no shoulder lane on the road she was driving on, but luckily Mamer was able to drive for a few more minutes before pulling over. The impact caused serious damage to her windshield, but she escaped unscathed.

A Fox 9 viewer reported a similar experience on Tuesday when several large chunks ice flew off a semi traveling in the westbound lane of Interstate 694 near Shoreview.

The driver says the ice soared over the median into the eastbound lane of I-694. Although he attempted to swerve, the ice struck the passenger side of the windshield, completely caving it in. 

The driver says he was not injured. 

Authorities there say incidents like these are not uncommon in the wake of large snowfalls like this past weekend despite the fact that drivers are legally responsible for clearing snow and ice from the tops of their vehicle. In fact, not doing so could result in a misdemeanor charge of littering.

"I could have walked away with a face full of glass so I’m glad it was just that and the windshield stopped it," Mamer said.