Go to Jay O'Brien's Home Page


E420 meets rock storm in Utah

While driving home May 31st, 1999, from Santa Fe NM, heading west on I-70 just east of Salina, Utah,   I saw a dust cloud ahead and thought a car was driving nearby on a dirt road. But I couldn't see the car!  When we approached the dust cloud, it looked like a dust devil. Wrong! It was a small tornado, laden with rocks and gravel. It took a second to drive through it, and the sound of the rocks hitting the car at 75mph (the speed limit) was ear shattering. When we emerged, the windshield was pocked so badly it reminded me of frosted glass. Driving into the sun was almost impossible. Hitting the rocks at 75mph did a real job on our E420. Nearly $7,000 including the new windshield. It took about a second to drive through it, and the sound of thousands of rocks hitting the car was ear shattering.

It was a clear day, no clouds, and no other cars in the vicinity.

Here's some pictures.

Next time I see a dust devil, I'm going to stop rather than drive through it!

No, those aren't fly specs!

And the hood was repainted only weeks before this incident!

What happens when rocks and gravel hit the plastic grille at 75mph.

The window is almost "frosted".

During visiting hours, Cooks Auto Body, Sacramento

The good news is that the little rock chip in the windshield just below my line of vision is now gone! Strange, what a new windshield will do.

This page was prepared by Jay O'Brien.