KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - A Kings Mountain resident is currently recovering in the hospital after surviving a horrific incident on I-85 in Gaston County last Thursday night.
Patrick Rowland said he was riding in a car with his wife and a few other people around 11:20 p.m. when he nearly lost his life. Rowland said they were cruising in the southbound lanes of the interstate headed towards their home in Kings Mountain. As they were approaching Exit 27, something flew through the windshield. They think it may have come from a tractor-trailer.
"All of a sudden something flew through the window and that's the last thing I remember until the paramedics was talking to me," said Rowland.
His wife Ashlie was driving the car and managed to pull the vehicle over after the metal object smashed her husband in the face.
"I just heard the big pow and my husbands head fell in my lap," explained Ashlie.
She said the injuries looked extremely severe and she thought her husband had been killed. She called 9-1-1.
"When I seen his face, I've never ever seen anything like it in my life," said Ashlie.
She said her husband's head looked like it had been pushed back. The front of the car was a bloody mess and there was glass everywhere.
"It's a miracle he's alive," Ashlie said through teary eyes.
Paramedics rushed Patrick Rowland to a hospital in Gaston County. He was then transferred to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Patrick Rowland said he has nine different fractures because of the incident. He said his forehead had to be sutured back together and both of his orbital bones were fractured along with his nose, septum and upper jaw. The metal also knocked out the top row of his teeth.
Patrick Rowland said doctors have told him he will need multiple surgeries to repair his face. Despite his situation, he knows he is fortunate to have survived the incident.
"I'm not very lucky for it to happen to me, but I guess I'm lucky under the circumstances to still be here you know?" said Rowland
Rowland said his hope is that someone will recognize the piece of metal that hit him in the face and work to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.
"I just thank God that it happened to me and not some little kid or something," said Rowland. "If I wasn't right where I was, when I was there, it could have happened to somebody else and they might not have been so lucky."
A representative from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said that the Belmont Police Department is likely investigating the incident based upon where it happened.
Rowland said he will have surgery on Wednesday. He hopes that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will visit him during his time in the hospital.
Ashlie Rowland has set up a gofundme account for her husband. WARNING: The link includes graphic images.