Adventure in Southpark

Actually Colonial Heights, Virginia
(Pictures are not all in the order taken - Click on them for larger)
We were driving north on Interstate 95 and ended up in the left lane after a merge behind this truck.
He was really moving but I figured he would change lanes in a bit.
Suddenly bricks were falling off, and with the divider on the left and cars to the right we had no where to go. One brick bounced off the road, split in two, and smashed right up into our windshield.It was lucky that I was able to maintain control. Shocked at first I slowed down, but then I recovered and thought to speed up until I passed the truck. I pulled in front and flagged him over.It's a good thing I did, because more bricks were about to have fallen off and maybe some one else wouldn't have faired as well(?) as we did. The holding strap for that row was broken and loose.
One of the bricks clipped another ca. It bounced off a lower rubber area on their vehicle.
They were nice enough to pull over, offer support and give us their names if we needed witnesses.
The truck driver had called the State Police about the accident.
Once they came he admitted to them that obviously his brick, still lodged on our hood, had hit our windshield. We all exchanged information.
The patrolmen made sure we were safely off to the side of the road.
They said we couldn't drive the car far, just slowly to a close by windshield replacement shop. They offered some suggestions.
We pulled off at the very next exit and found ourselves in Center Colonial Heights, right next to the Southpark Mall.
We wasted an hour calling places, getting nowhere and found we would be stuck until the next day.
Janat, who runs A1 Autoglass, had recommended some of her competitors and even called the Comfort Suites hotel, to see if they had rooms if we couldn't get a quick fix.
Kisha checked us in, and sensing how edgy we were, did her best to calm us, and offered advice to make us feel at home.
We made more calls from the hotel and Janat is the one we chose. She would get the glass and handle us first thing in the morning.
The people in this Southpark area are great. We asked Kisha if we could get a late checkout, and she nicely gave us to 2PM, though we figured to be out before then.
After updating our anxious family, we drove slowly around the mall area with the smashed car and found a place to eat. The car drew lots of stares.
Later, even though we were tired, we couldn't get much sleep. It had been a busy a day, and we just kept realizing we were lucky to be alive.
Janat called right on time next morning and came to pick up the car. We had breakfast at the hotel, and tried to get some rest, because we still had about 5 hours of driving to do once we got the car back.
We were just starting to get some good rest when the housekeeping crew knocked on the door and wanted us out.
I don't always think to take pictures.
I don't always think to take pictures.
We explained about our late checkout arrangements. They went away, but the front desk rang and told us to get out or pay for another day.
The manager wouldn't talk with me on the phone, because he was busy in a meeting. I went down to pay the bill and talk with him. I found him sitting at a table "meeting" with an employee.
I waited till he finished and he said that Kisha shouldn't have given us the late checkout, and we should just wait for our car in the lobby, but we had to be out in 15 minutes.
While my wife quickly packed, I told him that he now was also a part of this story.
I took this picture of the EXIT sign, because Comfort Suites was showing us the door.
We waited in the lobby with all our baggage around us. I saw Janet pulling up with our car, and went out to meet her. While looking over the repaired windshield, I saw my wife with a policewoman.
The jerk manager had called the police, fabricating a story that we refused to leave the hotel room. I guess he didn't like me taking pictures.
From what the police had heard, they were surprised to find my wife sitting quietly with luggage in the lobby, and me outside the hotel.
Three police cars had pulled up to find nothing going on. It's unfortunate that this manager pulled them away from their real duties. I'm waiting to hear back from Comfort Suites HQ about this treatment.
It felt strange getting behind the wheel and driving again in busy traffic, but we had a lot of road to cover. We even came upon another brick truck, and now look at this. See how they have their bricks secured and safely locked down.
Truckers pay real close attention now. The life you save could be mine.

Once again - Good truck.

The bricks are wrapped up and covered and securely locked down. The truck is driving in the right side lane.

Bad truck.

Plastic hold down straps cutting loose down low, after rubbing against the rear metal back brace on the flatbed.

Final notes: Southpark is a nice place to visit, but pick a different reason for stopping there. The people were great (all except for one), and thank you very much Janat, and Kisha, the manager at the Arby's for your phone directory help, the AAA club, various local enforcement agencies, and especially Nissan for making a windshield that really holds up. Thank you all.
Note: Trucking company paid for repairs. Comfort Suites later credited us the room, hopefully out of that manager's budget.