Woman knocked out by concrete while driving on I-696 in Warren to undergo surgery

Theresa Thomas to undergo facial reconstruction surgery

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WARREN, Mich. - A woman who was knocked unconscious while driving Wednesday when a piece of football-sized concrete flew through her windshield will undergo facial reconstruction surgery on Friday.

Theresa Thomas, 42, who is a member of the Local 4 family, was hit by a piece of roadway while driving on I-696 in Warren. The concrete slab flew through her windshield and hit her in the head, knocking her unconscious and causing her to veer into a Pontiac Grand Prix traveling next to her.

The two cars careened into the highway barrier. Thomas was taken to a nearby hospital with an injury to her forehead. The driver of the Grand Prix was not injured.

Investigators said the 10- to 12-pound piece of concrete appeared to have come from the road. A patching crew fixed the hole in the highway near Hoover Road after the crash.

Similar instances reported on I-696

Three drivers have reported separate incidents of concrete slabs flying through their windshields over the last two weeks on I-696 in Warren.

Thomas' story brought two other drivers forward to share similar stories on the same stretch of road.

Anne Kraemer said she was also hit in the head while driving.

"You know, the police said they thought it was kicked up by a truck and thrown through the windshield," Kraemer said.

She kept her chunk of road as a souvenir.

"All I remember was the glass flying all over me and the whoosh of the air and feeling that I was going to die," Kraemer said.

She said the incident happened two weeks ago on I-696 near Hoover Road.

Nick Schade, of Chesterfield, said he experienced almost the same fate on that stretch of I-696 while he was driving last week.

"It happens in the blink of an eye, and before I knew it, glass was everywhere," Schade said.

His car, which is still in the shop, had new window tinting on it, and he thinks that might have prevented the rock from hitting him in the face. But the piece of concrete fell through and landed on the dashboard, disorienting him.

"Everything hitting you, and now knowing what's hitting you all at once, it's very scary," Schade said.

Michigan State Police are giving the chunk of highway from Wednesday morning's incident to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

"I'm just praying that she is OK, and that goes beyond everything," Schade said. "Michigan roads are horrible, and we need to do something about them."

The Macomb Road Commission sent a crew to put a cold patch in the hole where the chunk came out of the ground.

Michigan State Police troopers said it was a wrong place, wrong time accident.

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