It's not yet confirmed. It appears this may have been the projectile that may have been kicked by passing traffic.
Projectile strikes driver on the left side of his neck. Driver collides with center divide and rides it to a stop. Pronounced dead at scene
Flying projectile kills California driver, authorities say
Published September 19, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Department of Transportation says a large metal nut that struck and killed a man as he drove on a Northern California freeway may have come from one of its trucks.
Caltrans said Sunday the water truck was driving between job sites at the time of the accident on U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo Park Friday afternoon.
The California Highway Patrol says the driver, identified as 82-year-old Louis Schaefer, was struck in the neck by a bolt the size of a baseball when it smashed through his car windshield.
CHP Officer Art Montiel said the bolt may have fallen off a vehicle or been kicked up from the road.
Caltrans said it's cooperating with the CHP as they finish their investigation and offered condolences to Schaefer's family and friends.
Elderly man hit, killed by object on Hwy 101 in Palo Alto
An elderly man was struck in the neck and killed by an unidentified object while driving northbound on U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo Park Friday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.
By Katie Marzullo
Friday, September 16, 2016 09:37PM
PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- An elderly man in his early 80s, who lived in Mountain View, was struck in the neck and killed by a possible projectile. CHP officers believe it may have been a large brass bolt that was about the size of a softball, but their investigation is still on-going.
CHP officers say the bolt may have fallen off a vehicle, or been kicked up from the road.
The object hit the driver, who was driving northbound on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto Friday afternoon.
Witnesses said the man, who appears to be in his early 80s, was struck by the item when it smashed through his windshield near Willow Road at about 1 p.m., said CHP Officer Art Montiel.
Drivers stopped to assist the man, but the driver died at the scene.
After being struck, the driver collided with the center divide, eventually coming to a stop. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
Elderly man killed in freak accident on Highway 101 in Palo Alto identified
Officials have released the identity of the Mountain View man who they believe was killed on Highway 101 in Palo Alto when a large brass bolt the size of a baseball went flying through his windshield. (@CHP_RedwoodCity/Twitter)
By Katie Marzullo
Friday, September 16, 2016 11:34PM
PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Officials have released the identity of the Mountain View man who was killed in a freak accident on Highway 101 in Palo Alto Friday afternoon. The CHP says a projectile came through his windshield and hit him in the neck
The coroner has identified the victim as 82-year-old Louis Schaefer. The CHP believes a large brass bolt went flying through the windshield of his minivan.
"While searching the vehicle, officers found a brass, sort of like a plumbing material, like a nut, approximately the size of a baseball," said CHP Officer Art Montiel.
Schaefer was driving north on Highway 101 through Palo Alto around 1 p.m. when a large projectile slammed through his windshield and hit him in the neck.
His van went off the highway and careened along the center divider before coming to a stop. Other drivers pulled over and tried to help him, but it was too late. First responders pronounced him dead at the scene.
Investigators are asking witnesses to come forward in the hopes that they can shed more light on exactly what happened.
"To see if, you know, maybe this fell off another vehicle," said Montiel. "Or maybe it was kicked up, got kicked up by somebody else's tires as they were driving by."
It was an unusual and terrible accident that cost an innocent driver his life.
"That's very tragic, there was probably nothing he could have done to avoid that," said Montiel.
Two northbound lanes were closed for two hours while the CHP investigated and cleared the scene.