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'This thing was like a missile': Family recalls tire tread piercing front windshield on Texas highway

The family was driving on Interstate 20 when the 2-foot-long tire tread punched the hood, pierced the window and ricocheted off the steering wheel.

DALLAS — Mark and Jenny Pearson have a lot to be thankful for after a terrible scare on a Texas highway on Sunday. 

Jenny Pearson was driving their daughter to summer camp when a piece of debris, a tire tread, had launched into the air and pierced their front windshield.

"There was no chance for me to avoid, to swerve... it just happened," Jenny Pearson told WFAA.

They were driving eastbound on Interstate 20 near Canton, Texas, when the 2-foot-long tire tread punched the hood, pierced the window and ricocheted off the steering wheel. It's unclear where the tire tread came from, but they believe it was kicked up by a vehicle in front of them.

"This thing was like a missile," said Mark Pearson, who said if not for the steering wheel the projectile was headed straight for Jenny's "head and heart." 

Mark was at home at the time and got the call from Jenny who was audibly frantic. 

"There was just a five second pause... that was the longest five seconds of my life. Then she said 'We're ok.' Talk about instant relief," recalled Mark Pearson.

If the story wasn't interesting enough, it's what happened after that makes it more worth telling. 

"There's no coincidence in all of this," said Jenny Pearson.

Two good Samaritans, Caleb and Maria Smalling, who live down the road and pulled up to the Pearsons' SUV just happened to own a glass repair company, Big Boys Auto Glass out of Canton.

"What are the odds of A, he stops. B, he has the right parts. And C, him and his wife are so kind and gracious?" Mark Pearson said.

The Smallings repaired the windshield on the spot. 

"In addition to replacing the windshield they meticulously swept all the glass on the interior. When I asked to pay he said, 'Don’t worry about it.' I burst into tears," Jenny Pearson wrote in a Facebook post.

"There's a lot bad things around us, but there are good people," said Mark Pearson.

Jenny only has some small cuts and scrapes but is otherwise fine. The Pearsons believe its divine intervention that kept them safe and brought them the Smallings.

"Focusing on what really matters. There's a lot more to life than this daily rat race we go through," Mark Pearson said.

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