Woman counts blessings after trailer hitch shatters windshield

Kent County

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — If anyone is wondering what happened to their truck’s trailer hitch, a Walker mother of three may have the answer.

Doreen Apening is grateful to be alive after a heavy chunk of metal bounced off the road and crashed through her windshield as she was driving on I-196.

Apening, Metro Health Hospital nurse, sent 24 Hour News 8 photos of the damage done to her windshield after she drove west to work on I-196, a couple of miles before the 28th Street Wyoming exit, around 6:25 p.m. Thursday.

According to Apening, a monster truck was speeding along the road in front of her.

“They have these big, black monster trucks with these special tires that are a little bit up,” Apening said when describing the truck Saturday. “I see the hitch come off and it was just rolling on the street. Bouncing along it was making fire, sparkles on the road.”

She continued in the left lane, thinking the debris was coming to a stop. But it wasn’t over.

“All of a sudden, I got closer, and this thing just went up, spun around and just hit me,” Apening said.

A large trailer hitch with the mount attached had bounced through her window off the asphalt. Apening estimated it weighed between 20-30 pounds.

“It hit on the passenger’s side and just came toward the passenger’s seat and my bag and everything,” she said. “I called 911, and I was crying and everything.”

Grandville officers told her to continue to work, and she drove there covered in shattered glass with the wind blowing through the crater in her window.

Now, it’s a trophy that fascinates her 6-year-old son, Joshua. However, she still shudders when she thinks about what might have happened if the hitch came through the driver’s side, or if her family was with her.

“So it’s probably going to smash me and kill me or something. I have three kids, I have a husband,” Apening said.

She hopes the truck driver will take responsibility for the hitch. 

Anyone with information about the incident can call the Grandville Police Department at 616.538.6110.

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