Ice that injured man flew off Mass. truck

State police have identified the truck, but not released the identity of the driver, involved in an accident on Thursday that left a Massachusetts man badly injured from flying ice.

Ice from the truck slammed into the windshield of the car driven by Stanley Raczelowski, 64, of Westford, Mass., around 7 a.m. Thursday as he was driving north on Route 31 in a Honda Accord. The tractor-truck was passing, driving south near the Mason-Greenville town line.

State Police Sgt. Paul Hunt, of Troop B, said the truck is owned by Hillside Plastics Corp., of Turners Falls, Mass.

Hunt said investigators would go over the case and decide by Monday morning whether the company, the driver or both will face charges. Until then, Hunt said, police won’t release the driver’s name.

“We want to be fair to the driver,” Hunt said.

It’s against New Hampshire law for vehicles to be driven with an accumulation of snow or ice on top or on the hood.

A chunk of ice about 3 feet in diameter and 6 inches thick landed on the Accord’s front end and windshield, injuring Raczelowski’s head and face. He was taken to Monadnock Regional Hospital and later airlifted to a Worcester, Mass., hospital.

His wife reportedly said he will need facial surgery, but early tests show he has normal brain function.

Police say the truck’s driver never stopped, and there were no witnesses to the accident. The car traveled a short distance after getting hit and collided with a telephone pole on the Greenville line.

The state Legislature passed a law in 2002 in response to the death of Jessica Smith, who was killed in Peterborough in 1999 when a 9-foot piece of ice flew from the top of an 18-wheeler traveling in the opposite direction. The ice struck the windshield of a state truck, which led to a fatal chain reaction. The driver of the state truck lost control of his vehicle and then struck Smith’s car, killing her.

Neither driver was charged with a crime because New Hampshire had no law covering such a situation, so Smith’s parents, Don and Linda Smith, of Nashua, lobbied legislators to passed what’s now known as “Jessica’s Law.”

Drivers who fail to clear off a vehicle can be penalized for negligent driving and fined $250-$500 for a first offense.