MEDINA, Ohio - As snowplows hit the roads, a Medina County man has a warning about damage to his car that he said was caused by a county plow pushing snow and ice over the side of an overpass.
Ben Stobbs, of Montville Township, said the windshield of his Chevy Cruz was shattered by falling debris on I-71 north Sunday morning.
“It's pretty remarkable it wasn't anything worse. We feel very fortunate,” Stobbs said.
Stobbs said he was driving to church around 11:30 a.m. when he noticed a Medina County snowplow crossing the Granger Road overpass.
“As he was approaching the bridge, I could see he was throwing some slush and ice and debris off the edge,” Stobbs said. “Being in the middle of traffic, I didn't have the opportunity to go one way or the other, so I had to go into it.”
He said the impact threw shards of glass onto his daughter, who was sitting in the passenger seat.
“First thing I did was I hit the windshield wipers thinking that all the black and gray stuff on the windshield was actually the slush when, in reality, it was my windshield,” he said.
Stobbs said he was able to drive his damaged vehicle to the nearby Ohio State Highway Patrol Medina Post and contacted the Medina County Highway Department.
“They've acknowledged the fact that it was a county truck. It was an unfortunate situation. They're thankful, we're thankful, that there weren't any major injuries,” Stobbs said.
Medina County Engineer Andy Conrad said GPS tracking showed the plow driver was going 8 miles per hour on the overpass and it appeared the driver was following protocol.
Drivers are required to slow down and straighten their plow’s blade to push snow forward while crossing an overpass before angling it to the side, which the driver in this case said he did, according to Conrad.
“It’s unclear why it went over the side,” Conrad said, noting the incident does not occur often.
He said he talked to the driver about policy, and the driver will not be disciplined.
Stobbs said the cost of repairs, towing and a rental car is more than $2,000, and he has submitted a claim to Medina County.
“We’re making the resident whole,” Conrad said. He urged drivers to be alert and slow down, if possible, for falling debris.
Stobbs said he hopes something can be done to prevent a similar situation from recurring.
“I'm hoping the county will be responsible enough to look into the situation and find a way so this doesn't occur again,” Stobbs said.