Valley woman escapes without serious injuries after flying shovel pierces windshield of SUV

Shovel thru windshield.png
Posted at 10:05 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-12 00:32:22-05

ANTHEM, AZ — Most drivers know objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. But, this object approached pretty quickly!

A rogue shovel hit Cheryl Mielnicki's windshield.

"I feel very blessed. I feel like I really dodged a bullet,” said Mielnicki.

She was driving her Dodge Durango along Interstate 17 in the North Valley Thursday morning.

"I saw the car in front of me swerve and the car to the right of him swerve in the other direction,” added Mielnicki.

The wife and mother says she was heading home from an appointment and was trying to get into the exit lane.

“I didn't think I was going to make it. I really thought that was it for me,” added Mielnicki. “You know, by the hand of God, I managed to get into the shoulder of the road and didn't hit anybody."

This was no typical freeway debris.

"I realized it's a shovel. It twirled. It was coming straight almost like an arrow right to my face in the windshield,” added Mielnicki.

So fast, leaving her no time to react.

"The second my brain made the connection, it went through the windshield and I heard a loud almost popping noise,” added Mielnicki.

"It was like the shovel came in and the handle kind of continued breaking my windshield all the way up and ended up diagonal across the steering wheel,” added Mielnicki.

Mielnicki eventually stopped with the shovel sticking out.

"I could see I had blood. I did not know where it was coming from. I had dirt and debris all over my shirt,” added Mielnicki.

A man offered help.

"He was afraid to look in the car. He said I really did not expect there to be somebody alive inside,” added Mielnicki.

It's unclear where the shovel came from.