Woman hospitalized after ice smashes into her car 'like a missile' on Indiana highway

Auto shops owners: Flying ice a common problem

NOTE: Graphic photos below of injuries sustained from an "ice missile".

CINCINNATI -- Diane Johnson was driving along Indiana State Road 56 Friday when she saw a large piece of ice dislodge from a truck in front of her.

In a split-second, it hurtled toward her vehicle and smashed into her windshield with incredible force.

“It looked like a missile coming at me,” Johnson said. “I thought, ‘Just hold onto the wheel straight’…there was no way I could avoid it.”

When she regained control of her vehicle, Johnson pulled over and tried to open her eyes. But she saw nothing.

“I couldn't see anything because of the blood,” she said. “I couldn’t wipe my face because there was so much glass on it.”

Local auto glass repair shop owners say what happened to Johnson isn’t as rare as it sounds. Flying ice has been damaging vehicles around the Tri-State by the dozens over the last week.

“Beware of what’s around you on the highway,” Ryan’s Auto Glass owner Mike Dittleberger said. “Watch out for semis that you can't see the roof of. It's unbelievable how many (damaged windshields) we're seeing.”

Dittelberger said he had four cars with newly shattered windshields sitting in his lot ready to be repaired Monday because of flying ice.

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When Johnson was hit by ice, she said it fell from what looked like a large moving truck.

When she stopped, a man who was traveling behind her pulled over to help out. He gave her water to clear the glass from her face.

Johnson was taken to Dearborn County hospital and later transferred to University Of Cincinnati Medical Center because of damage to her eyes.

“I can't see very well,” she said. “I know it wasn't the driver's fault. If they could just check to see if they have ice on top of their vehicles before driving.”

Cincinnati resident Mike Freeman said he was driving up I-71 near the I-275 Interchange when he was hit by an “ice missile.”

“Didn't even notice it come from an overpass,” Freeman said. “It almost caused a big accident."

Freeman said his windshield broke twice in two weeks from flying ice on the interstate.

Freeman was at Auto Glass Now in Cincinnati Monday to get his windshield repaired.

"Cars are throwing ice all over the place,” said Auto Glass Now District Manager Justin Boesherz. “Ice falling from buildings, falling down and damaging peoples' cars from all over."

With all the calls coming in about broken windshields, Boesherz said he’s had to work overtime.

"Since Friday we've taken (more than) 150 quotes and calls from customers all over Cincinnati and Kentucky," Boesherz said.

Boesherz said customers who live in Kentucky and have full coverage insurance are not charged for a new windshield after ice damage -- because Kentucky is a zero deductible state.

Indiana and Ohio are different. Without those savings, a new windshield could cost hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

WCPO's Tony Mirones contributed to this report

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