The Washington State Patrol is issuing a safety reminder to drivers after a close call on State Route 101 in Jefferson County.
A large piece of plywood impaled the front of a car on SR 101 after it came loose from another vehicle at milepost 280. No one was hurt, but the car's grille was destroyed after the wood became lodged inside.
WSP Trooper Chelsea Hodgson tweeted this reminder to drivers: "Make sure to check and ensure your load is secure before driving."
Back in August, troopers issued another reminder after catching two especially precarious loads on the highway. One pickup was hauling at least 11 leaning mattresses in the truck's bed. Just two hours later, WSP caught a driver hauling an upright refrigerator that was not properly tied down.
The Washington State Patrol carries out periodic emphasis patrols on loose loads. This past April, troopers were doling out tickets with a minimum fine of $228. Trooper Joe Amstrong says the citation could be even higher, depending on the circumstances.
Armstrong referenced a case that brought extensive awareness to loose loads. In 2004, then 24-year-old Maria Federici was driving behind a U-Haul with unsecured particle board. It flew off the truck and through her windshield. Federici was permanently blinded by the incident and suffered major injuries to her face. She was awarded $15 million for her pain and suffering, and led state leaders to change the law to create more serious penalties for drivers of unsecured loads.
Editor's note: Video report originally published April 27, 2018