Four people, including two children, were injured when ice dislodged from a commercial truck and smashed through the windshield of a pickup truck in Burlington, Massachusetts, on Thursday morning.
The incident happened on Route 3 north, south of Exit 26, around 11:30 a.m.
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"Unfortunately, when snow and ice is not removed, it can lead to serious incidents," said Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.
The 40-year-old driver of the pickup truck, identified by family as Newton firefighter Eric Travers, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with what were initially considered potentially serious injuries. His 38-year-old wife, their 3-year-old son and their 1 1/2-year-old daughter were also taken to MGH with minor injuries.
"I got a call from my daughter, frantic, that there was an accident," said Joseph Nelson, Travers' father-in-law. "He was in the outside lane, the truck was in the inside lane. The wind is what took the ice off and blew it onto his car."
"There were actually large chunks of ice inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle," Patterson said.
A preliminary investigation showed that the pickup was traveling northbound when a large piece or pieces of ice flew off the roof of a box truck. That ice smashed through the windshield on the driver's side, police said.
"We see this too often in our business, especially on the interstates," said Patterson.
The driver of the pickup truck came to a stop but the driver of the box truck continued to travel northbound.
A trooper was able to stop the suspected box truck several minutes after the incident. The truck, which police say is owned by Diggins & Rose Moving systems out of Hudson, New Hampshire, was being driven by a 55-year-old man from Litchfield.
Police said the driver was cooperative and said he was unaware that he had ice on the roof of the truck.
The driver was issued warnings for having an unsecured load, police said.
"I can confirm the truck was stopped by a state trooper, but was not given a citation," said Eily Cummings of United Van Lines, the parent company of Diggins & Rose, in a statement. "We are unable to confirm if the ice came off the truck in question. Safety is of the upmost importance to us, and we will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves."
"Ensure that you completely clear snow and ice from your roofs, your windshields, your hoods, your trunks," said Patterson. "These are absolutely incidents that, in my opinion, are preventable."
The Travers family is home and recovering.