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Couple lucky to be alive after piece of Montreal highway crashes into their windshield


A Montreal couple is having a hard time driving without stress and is unhappy with the city's maintenance after a chunk of highway crashed into their windshield while driving at night.

"I'm just happy to be alive," said Hillary Cohen. "I just see that thing flying at me."

Cohen and her husband Dan Cholewa were driving along Highway 40 East towards Montreal from the West Island on Thursday night.

When they went under the Highway 13 underpass, something smashed into the windshield of their Volvo SUV.

"We just saw this huge, meteor-shaped piece of concrete fly towards us," said Cholewa. "It just came at what seemed like 100 kilometres per hour, and it went right into our windshield, it bounced off our windshield and then hit a second time again and bounced to the right of our car at a huge, huge impact."

Cohen was putting on makeup in the passenger's seat and looked up to see the black object.

"I looked over at him and said, 'Are we dead? Did we die?'" said Cohen. "The impact was so strong. It was so fast. All I remember was just seeing black coming at me."

The couple's vehicle sustained massive damage to the windshield, rear-view mirror and front camera.

"It was a real surreal thing," said Cholewa. "It sounded like a bomb went off in our car."

A couple's front windshield was smashed on April 4, 2024 after a piece of a pothole flew at their car and smashed it while they were driving on Highway 40 in Montreal. (Hillary Cohen)

He said he was in shock as he kept driving, trying to stay in the lane to avoid causing a hazard to any other drivers.

"I had no idea what just happened," he said. "I just saw my windshield in pieces. It was just so bizarre."

The couple drove to a Montreal police (SPVM) station and said officers told them that it must have been ice from the storm on Thursday.

Cholewa said provincial police told him the next day that the damage was caused by broken pieces of a pothole on Highway 13, and that other drivers had filed similar complaints or called 911 about the stretch of road.

The Surete du Quebec (SQ) told Cholewa that the pothole had been filled.

The parents are thankful their children weren't in the car with them.

"We have three-year-old twins, and they might never have wanted to go in the car again. It's really stressful because you go under these underpasses."

They are now stressed while driving and angry to think that there are many potholes in the city that might be in a similar state.

They are also thankful that they were driving a Volvo.

"It didn't hit me right away," said Cholewa. "When it really hit me was when it sunk in when I went to Volvo West Island to change my windshield, and the technician who was changing my window said that had it been any other car, it would have been fatal. That, for me, was when I just sat back and realized how serious that incident was." Top Stories

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