By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
A truck driver admits he’s lucky to be alive after his windshield was shattered by what appears to have been a paper cup of soda that was thrown from an oncoming vehicle around 8:20 p.m. on May 8, near Bogota, TX.
OOIDA Senior Member Richard Bolduc of St. Peters, MO, sustained injuries to his eyes, back and face, but was able to pull over and out of traffic before he fell to the ground outside his truck on U.S. 271. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Plano, TX.
By mid-May, Richard had made it back home to Missouri, but was still having problems with his neck, back and eyes after sustaining whiplash, back injuries, a broken nose and pieces of glass in his eyes.
His wife, Jennifer Bolduc, told Land Line that investigators estimate the speed of the cup that hit her husband’s windshield was about 140 mph.
Acts of kindness
Eyewitness Kate Gibson of Bogata, TX, and her boyfriend, Mitch Cannon, were behind Richard on 271 when they noticed an object strike his windshield, then saw him pull off the road quickly in front of them.
Gibson said she didn’t see the vehicle or person who might have thrown the cup, just the object as it hit Richard’s windshield.
Gibson and Cannon took care of the Bolducs’ two Chihuahuas, who were with him in the truck, until Richard was able to pick them up and head home.
“His first thought when he got his bearings was what happened, if anyone else was injured, his dogs, calling his wife,” Gibson said. “We weren’t going to leave him stranded on the side of the road. No one needs to be treated that way.”
Bolduc said the Bogota community rallied around him following the incident.
Although he was released from the hospital the next day, he was unable to drive for several days as he recovered from his eye injuries and as his windshield was being replaced.
The Bolducs live more than 600 miles from where Richard was injured. For about five days, he stayed with Donnie Childers and his wife, Dana, owners of a feed store in Bogota. “Pastor Donnie” as he is called, is also a former truck driver and the pastor of the Full Circle Cowboy Church in Bogota.
The Childers were called to the scene by Gibson and Cannon who had stopped to help Richard.
Pastor Donnie, who has a CDL, drove Richard’s truck to the feed store parking lot. He then drove nearly three hours to the hospital in Plano where Richard was flown by helicopter after the accident. He wanted to make sure Richard had his cellphone, wallet and other items out of his truck.
The investigation is ongoing into the car and the person who may have thrown the cup that shattered Bolduc’s windshield. Pieces of a Burger King cup and straw were found throughout his truck.
Richard said that investigators now believe he was the second vehicle struck that night. The driver of another truck had his headlight broken in the same area. When that driver turned around to find out what hit him, local and state police were already responding to Richard’s accident scene.
He said he’s had several sleepless nights since the incident, but is thankful that no one else was hurt.
“After the accident, all of these things keep flashing through my mind, like what if I hadn’t been able to steer to the side of the road and had veered into the left lane and into traffic, what if my girls had been with me,” he said. LL