I can't thank God enough for the protection we were given in the very final seconds of what could have been the most tragic thing to ever happen in our family. I was driving home from the beach with by 16 year old daughter, Bella, in the passenger's seat. It was a wonderful family day of swimming that wore her out so she was sleeping peacefully as I drove home. What came next was the loudest bang we have ever heard and if you ask me, it was also the sound of angels putting themselves in front of my daughter and a giant hunk of flying metal.

We were relaxed after an awesome beach day with my visiting extended family. My in-laws miss the beach now that they retired to Atlanta so we made sure they got some sand and sun at our favorite spot. We all split up for the drive home, my husband took our little one, Fia, and his parents with him and my 16 year old Bella wanted to ride shotgun with me. It was around 5:30pm and we were hitting traffic for a while but things started to open up and I was going about 65 mph.  I glanced over and Bella who was sleeping from her day in the sun. Nothing makes you feel better as a mom then when you know you had a great day with your kids and the fun tired them out. We were peaceful and then in just a second we were shook.

Out of nowhere, a large strap with a heavy metal buckle and hook broke off a moving truck and starting hurling itself through the air. It whipped itself in circles missing the other three cars in front of me. The hunk of metal buckle shot into my windshield directly in front of my sleeping daughter's face.  The crash was the loudest thing I ever heard and it all happened so fast. My daughter jumped up thinking we were in a car crash. I have NO IDEA how that metal did not go though my windshield!  I was going 65 mph and after bouncing off the hood of my car, the metal hit exactly where her head was...only a layer of glass separating them.

Metal buckle that crashed into Shannon Holly's windshield on GSP

The other end (a metal hook) was connected to the grates under my wiper blades so after the impact, it was still connected to the car and smacking the glass until I pulled over.

Site of the metal hook holding onto Shannon Holly's car

I did not swerve, I stayed straight and pulled over as soon as possible to unhook it. This is what it looked like.

Metal buckle, strap and hook that crashed into Shannon Holly's car on Garden State Parkway

HOW did this thing not break my glass going at that speed? I'm so grateful...I keep saying it over and over. After I pulled over, my eye caught etching in the glass from the impact that was exactly lined up with Bella's head.  After seeing that I had a panic attack. I couldn't breath. The realization that I could have watched something like that hit my daughter and I couldn't do anything to stop it gutted me. I kept asking her, "are you ok, are you ok?" She said, "mom there is not a scratch on me..." and then I asked her again.

This is Bella holding the buckle strap and hook. We are still counting our blessings

At the time of this accident I was paying full attention to the road but I don't always do that. I get complacent at times and give into looking at a text (I'm not proud of that but it has happened), or getting engrossed in a phone call. That will never happen again. I will never take a moment with my girls for granted ever again either. I know this could have been MUCH worse.  My windshield is getting replaced, the body damage will be banged out, but none of that matters. I know we were given protection that day, I feel it. Hug your kids, pray for those who can't and don't follow too closely on the Garden State Parkway because you never know if all you need is just one more inch to be safe.

Shannon Holly and her daughter Bella


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