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The Closest of Calls: Vancouver driver inches from impalement after metal beam crashes through windshield

North Vancouver, British Columbia — A North Vancouver driver says she is lucky to be alive after a transport truck with an insecure load launched a large metal beam through the driver’s side of her windshield on the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge last Friday.

“Everything happened so fast. I didn’t have a lot of time to consider what my options were,” local resident Susan Milne told CTV News Vancouver.

Vancouver police suspect that the truck was heading in the opposite direction of Milne when the beam fell off, bounced off the surface of the bridge, over the centre barricade and came within inches of her head, but was luckily blocked by the steering wheel.

“I turned around to look back at my son to make sure he was okay,” she said. “He had been sleeping and he just woke up to the noise. And I reassured him that everything’s okay.”

Onlookers rushed to assist Milne in calling 911, and within minutes North Vancouver firefighters and police were on the scene—but no ambulance ever arrived.

In a statement to CTV, BC Emergency Health Services says it “dispatched the closest available ambulance, however, the first unit was diverted to a more urgent life-threatening call.” The second ambulance was subsequently caught in the traffic build-up on the bridge that was caused by the accident.

After waiting on the bridge for a little over half an hour with no ambulance in sight, police gave Milne and her son a ride home before making their own way to the hospital.

With only a few cuts and bruises to take away from the incident, and her son fortunately unharmed, Milne says she considers herself lucky that things hadn’t been direr.

“Had my life been hanging on a thread, needing urgent medical care, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said.

“I was missed by inches on my left side but there was the beam at the front and had this impact continued forward…I don’t even want to think about it. I’m incredibly blessed that I’m here right now.”

Vancouver police are now calling on the driver of the truck to come forward with their side of the story, though no implication of criminal charges was made in the email sent from Sgt. Steve Addison to CTV.

“We’d like that person to voluntarily come forward and speak with our investigators, but we’ll also be reviewing traffic and dash cam video in an attempt to identify the person if they don’t come forward,” he said.

“We need to conduct additional investigation and understand all the circumstances before we draw any conclusions.”

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