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September 25, 2013

Londonderry woman survives sign smashing through windshield

Airborne highway sign smashes through windshield

SALEM — A Londonderry woman survived a bizarre accident on Interstate 93 Monday that sent a construction sign smashing through her windshield.

Kristen Phillips, 28, was driving south on I-93 at 2:45 p.m., when things suddenly went awry.

“She was driving behind a tractor trailer truck in the high speed lane,” N.H. State Police Lt. Christopher Wagner said. “Without notice, the truck passed by a construction sign, which was laying in the shoulder of the road and lifted it up.”

The sign went airborne and crashed right through the windshield of Phillips’ 2005 Honda Civic, he said.

“The sign was a tripod and one of the metal legs of the sign ended up hitting her right in the nose,” Wagner said.

Despite all that, he said, Phillips was able to make a controlled stop.

Salem fire Capt. Jonathan Bracket said Phillips was transported to Lawrence General Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday afternoon that Phillips was not a patient there.

Wagner said she suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Yesterday, state police and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation were still investigating how the incident happened.

“We are going to be certain to follow up with DOT to see what precautions, if any, should be taken,” Wagner said. “Our trooper who is investigating this is going to talk to them and find out where it was at the time.”

Wagner said DOT personnel were the first at the scene after the crash.

DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said his department is looking into the incident.

“Obviously, it’s not the desired location of where it should be,” he said of the sign.

Boynton said the sign was not set up as part of any designated construction zone.

“Certainly, there is a lot of construction activity going on I-93,” he said. “But we are going to continue to look into what caused this to happen.”

Both Wagner and Boynton said they had never heard of an incident like this before in New Hampshire.

But Wagner said it’s just another reason drivers have to be aware on the road.

“From the sound of this, there was nothing (Phillips) could do,” he said. “But it shows that there’s a lot of hazards and drivers should do their best to pay attention. Something like this can happen very imminently.”

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