Man struck by debris on I-5 wants something done

by: Alison Grande Updated:

A driver was injured Saturday after debris went through his window and struck him in the head. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A Lakewood man is out of the hospital after being hit in the face with a chunk of steel on I-5.

Richard Gagnon was driving southbound on I-5 near Dupont when a piece of metal crashed through his windshield and hit him in the face.

“I knew something was coming at me, I didn’t know what it was.  I thought it was a bird flying in my direction. I didn’t know it was going to crash through my windshield and hit me in the head,” said Gagnon.

The impact shattered his eye socket, cracked his skull, crushed his sinuses and broke his nose. After 5 days at Tacoma General Hospital, 23 year-old Gagnon is home. He had a titanium plate inserted under his skin to protect his skull.

Investigators think the metal either fell off a passing vehicle or was already on the ground and got kicked into the air. They don’t think it came from an unsecured load, so there doesn’t appear to be negligence. The State Patrol is still working to find out where it came from.

WARNING, GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Man struck in face by chunk of steel

Gagnon is married and has an 8-month-old daughter.  He’s thankful he survived the crash, “Relief that I’m alive and can see my daughter grow up,” said Gagnon.

“The pain is really nothing, because I got my life back,” he added.

As he heals, he wants I-5 cleaned up.

“No more mattresses, no more chairs, no more tire tread, no more pieces of metal when I drive down the road again,” said Gagnon.

His wife wants the hazards removed too, “To have metal things flying up, all of it needs to be cleaned up. It’s not safe,” added Savannah Gagnon.

 “There’s no place for that on the roadway. It destroys lives and it shouldn’t happen,” Gagnon said.