A Michigan man is facing up to 10 years in prison for hurling a 40-pound sandbag off an overpass that struck a woman’s car, seriously injuring her, state police said.
David Garcia, 47, of Brighton, was arraigned Wednesday on one count of throwing objects at trains/cars causing serious impairment in the late Sunday incident on Interstate 96 in Lyon Township, where state police said a woman was fortunate to survive after one sandbag smashed through her windshield.
“The victim was very lucky she wasn’t more seriously hurt or killed,” state police tweeted. “Throwing anything on to the freeway from an overpass or the embankment can cause serious damage, injuries or death. Don’t do it!”
An investigation revealed that Garcia crashed his truck on Interstate 96 near Old Plank Road before leaving his vehicle and walking up to the nearby Old Plank Road overpass, which was under construction, state police said.
Garcia then found several 40-pound sandbags and “began throwing them” from the overpass in an effort to hit passing vehicles, state police said.
The woman, identified Friday as Cindy Eckley, was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries. She told HometownLife.com she saw Garcia on the overpass as she drove to her Livonia home.
“A split second later, I’m like my mouth is full of dirt,” Eckley recalled. “I’m thinking that wasn’t a body he threw. But it was big.”
Eckley said the impact left her “totally blind” while driving 73 mph before she slammed on the brakes. She then found her cellphone and called 911, she said.
Doctors later flushed sand and glass out of Eckley’s eyes, but she managed to escape the incident with no broken bones, several stitches to her right eyelid and small cuts to her face.
“It felt like I was sandblasted,” Eckley told the outlet. “I don’t know how I walked away from this. I don’t. I’m amazed. I’m crazy lucky.”
After tossing the sandbag, state police said Garcia fled the scene and was later picked up by an unsuspecting passerby who drove him back to his home in Brighton.
Garcia then told the driver what just occurred, prompting the motorist to contact Michigan State Police and give investigators his location, authorities said.
Garcia was later taken into custody after footprints from the overpass matched his shoes, state police said.
A judge set Garcia’s bond at $50,000, which he posted and was released Wednesday. He’s due back in court on Oct. 14 for a probable cause conference, WHMI reported.
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