MILTON, Ga. - Patricia Vogel drives with a handmade picture of Jesus on her dashboard to remind her daily of her faith in God.
Vogel, a devout Catholic from Woodstock, said that faith saved her life Tuesday after a rock the size of a volleyball flew off a dump truck, and crashed through her windshield as she drove in Milton.
“All I can remember is just hearing a huge boom,” Vogel told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “I never saw anything coming.”
Vogel said the rock, which weighs 9 pounds, crushed her left hand, then ricocheted throughout the car before resting on the passenger floor.
“When I glanced down and saw my hand I suddenly got very light-headed, felt a little weak in the knees,” she said. “I remember saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God.’”
The impact split Vogel’s wedding ring, embedded part of the ring in her hand and fractured her hand in several places. Police told her they estimate the rock was traveling between 90 and 100 mph inside of her Buick Enclave.
“At the velocity and speed the rock was traveling, had it hit me anywhere from my lungs to my head, any point of impact, I would have been killed instantly,” she said.
Vogel scoffs at the suggestion she’s lucky to be alive.
“That’s not luck,” she said. “That’s divine protection, truly divine protection.”
The impact was so great that windshield glass was pulverized into a fine powder, some of which got into her mouth. Vogel said she never wears sunglasses in the car, but Tuesday, she was, and doctors said that protected her from being blinded.
Witnesses said the dump truck kept on driving, and it’s possible the driver had no idea the rock had come loose from the truck bed.
Milton police told Petchenik witnesses didn’t get a look at the truck, so they have few leads about who was driving it. If caught, an incident report said the driver could face charges for hit-and-run and for operating a vehicle without a secure load.
“Please secure your load because someone can be injured, or God forbid, killed,” Vogel said.