Huge metal missile smashes through windscreen and into driver on motorway

Chris and Rachel Benn were coming home from their holiday in Dorset when the incident happened
-Credit: (Image: Collects)

A horrific incident on a motorway left a campervan driver screaming in pain and narrowly escaping death when a large piece of metal crashed through his windscreen and into his body. The object, believed to be a kingpin lock from a lorry, flew into his vehicle on the M42 as he was travelling home with his wife.

The metal shard narrowly missed Chris Benn's face, thanks to his last-second reaction; however, it broke his arm in six places, potentially affecting its use permanently. The 54-year-old may also face a year away from work due to the extensive recovery period, shared his wife Rachel.

After suffering internal bleeding and undergoing blood transfusions, Chris underwent surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he remained yesterday, more than a week on from the accident, reports Birmingham Live. The Leeds couple were returning from Dorset and were about 120 miles from their home when the accident occurred on the northbound stretch of the M42 at around 2.30 pm on Friday, June 21. Get the best user experience with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android

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The 54-year-old had to undergo blood transfusions after suffering internal bleeding
Chris Benn was injured when a Kingpin lock came crashing through the window of his campervan on the M42 -Credit:Collects

Rachel recounted the terrifying moment, describing an "almighty bang" and witnessing her husband's arm "dangling" shortly after they merged onto the motorway near Water Orton. She explained: "He saw it at the very last minute, and moved towards me to his left, which then put his shoulder up and it hit that instead of his head. It went through his head rest. If it had hit him in the face, that would have been game over."

Healthcare professionals predict that Chris, a fridge and air conditioning engineer, will not be able to work for approximately a year due to the severity of his injuries. Meanwhile their campervan has been left "completely undriveable". Warwickshire Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information to come forward, while the couple pleads with motorists who may have dashcam footage of the event.

Rachel, 46, told BirminghamLive: "It was horrific. We'd just got on the M42, we'd only been on there for a matter of minutes. Our campervan was higher up, if it'd been a car it would have probably gone over the top. I was reading a Kindle so I didn't see what happened, I heard an almighty bang and when I turned around there was a hole in the windscreen and Chris said: 'My arm's gone'.

"I leant forward to make sure he still had an arm, and it was dangling. He pulled the wheel and got us on the hard shoulder. Suddenly when the adrenaline wore off, he was screaming in agony. Possibly if it had hit him full force in the arm it would have ripped his arm off. We have been super-fortunate, it could have been so much worse but equally it shouldn't have happened." For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

Emergency teams including traffic police and an ambulance were dispatched. While waiting for the medical team, Rachel went to the back of their van to find pain relief medication, and only then did she notice the Kingpin lock at the rear of their vehicle.

"It was heavy, I had to use two hands to pick it up. It was covered in oil. It must have been coming towards us as it carried on coming through the back. When the traffic police arrived he said it was a kingpin. When you take it off [the lorry] apparently it's one of the very basic rules; you never travel with it externally, it has to travel in the cabin."

Chris was rushed to Heartlands Hospital in "so much pain" before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Rachel added: "Chris had his operation yesterday, it all went as OK as it could do. There's just a bit of muscle the surgeon can't repair because there's a main artery underneath it. He might not ever get his arm back to go over his head, and his job involves that so it's horrendous. They said nine to 12 months he'll be out of work."

Rachel continued: "If this guy [lorry driver] has reached his destination, he might be sat at home driving himself insane thinking he's killed someone. It was awful, but it could have been worse. It's going to affect our lives for a long, long time but I don't want someone else's life affected as well; worrying himself to death thinking he's killed someone.

"I'm appealing for anyone who was on that stretch of road at that time and with dashcam footage to come forward, then we've got somewhere to start. We just want to understand what's gone wrong."

Warwickshire Police have launched an investigation into the incident. In a statement, the force said: "We're investigating an incident where an object went through a campervan window causing serious injury to the shoulder of the driver. The driver a man in his 50s went to hospital with his injuries. The incident was reported to police at 2.50pm on June 21."

The force added: "Any witnesses or anyone with information can go to Tell us something you've seen or heard | Warwickshire Police or call 101 quoting incident 206 of 21 June 2024."