For years there has been talk of the graying drivers in New Jersey and the dangers they pose on the road. Driver re-testing above a certain age is often desired by the public but politicians won't touch it. For all the examples of elderly drivers wreaking havoc, sometimes there are the exceptions. This is most definitely one of them.

A 76 year old woman from South Jersey has to get used to a new normal, living life with part of her middle finger missing. All because a rickety dump truck caused a horrific accident then kept going.

She was driving two cars in back of a truck in the right hand lane of 295 last Thursday when she and other drivers didn't want to be anywhere near this vehicle. She described it as an old, dirty dump truck that apparently looked like it was falling apart. Turns out it was.

As she and other vehicles tried to pass it something went terribly wrong. She got into the far left lane, as far from the truck as she could, when suddenly a huge chunk of metal came flying off and up from the truck at least 30 to 40 feet in the air.

"It looked like a rocket," she told the Trentonian. There was no avoiding it. It came crashing through her windshield, all 50 pounds of its scorching hot metal. Glass shattered into her hair and mouth as it struck her left hand. She watched helplessly as it tore her middle finger off at the knuckle and crushed and mangled several other fingers. The blood was immediate and profuse. This amazing woman had the presence of mind to realize she might not have much time before she lost consciousness with the amount of blood she was losing. She inched her way over to exit 65B, Sloan Avenue, then stopped at the Hamilton Train Station where she received help.

And again, she's 76 years old. She handled this better than most drivers would. Think about the scene. The unexpected and deadly nature of it. Many of us no matter what age would have lost control of our cars at the point the windshield shattered. Certainly many more of us would have lost control at the excruciating pain she must have felt and the sight of her own damaged hand. Not this lady. She remained in control. She safely got off the highway, and to a place where she could get help. Here's a lady who would never have to worry about driver re-testing.

But what happened to her is tragic. The truck never stopped. And she not only lost part of that middle finger but now has 6 wires holding together another finger and the pointer finger has a severed tendon. There will be more surgeries, and she says her left hand will basically never be normal again. Meanwhile, police are looking for information on the beat up old dump truck. If you know anything call 609-584-5000 ext. 5297.

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