A Washington state teenager narrowly escaped being impaled by a fence post after he drove down a 20-foot embankment and slammed his car into a fence while either texting or talking on his cell phone.
Dale McCauley, 18, was driving east on a highway near Aberdeen, Wash., approximately two hours outside of Seattle on Saturday when he suddenly made a dangerous U-turn and began to head west on the highway, Washington State Patrol Trooper Russ Winger told ABCNews.com.
Fellow drivers began to call 911 with reports of McCauley's black Dodge SUV swerving dangerously in and out of traffic. They told operators that the teen had a cell phone to his ear and was either texting or talking on it, or both. McCauley then veered completely off the roadway, into a horse pasture and down a 20-foot embankment. The teen's SUV slammed into a fence, with one of the rails from the 15 to 20 sections of the large fence he'd hit going directly into his car, according to Winger.
"One of the fence rails just pierced the windshield and went completely through the car and into the back and was probably six inches above his head," Winger said. "If it had struck him in the head or the chest, it very likely would have killed him."
Instead, McCauley escaped with only minor injuries. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for minor facial lacerations, likely from the flying of the glass in the windshield, and released.
"He was very lucky," Winger said.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash and McCauley had no passengers. The local police officer who responded to the scene determined that neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the accident.
McCauley was given a ticket for negligent driving, which carries a fine of $550, and won't face any further charges, Winger said.