Driver cheats death after ‘missile’ flies through windscreen of his campervan

A campervan[1] driver says he “cheated death” after a ‘missile’ crashed through his windscreen as he drove along a major motorway.

Chris Benn, 54, was left with horrific bruising and a right shoulder that was broken in six places after the huge hunk of metal hit him on the M42[2]. He had travelling in his Citroen Relay with his wife Rachel Benn, 46, when he was struck near Birmingham[3] as they headed home from a holiday in Dorset[4].

And shocking pictures showed how the hefty object, thought to be a kingpin lock that had come off a lorry, only just missed his head when it smashed through the window. Chris was rushed to hospital, where he has since undergone surgery, but despite being left in “unbearable pain”, he feels lucky to be alive.

The refrigerator engineer said: “It was terrifying. It gives you a different insight on life. I have cheated death. In a split second, I heard a whistling noise of something coming towards me. I ducked instinctively and then there was the bang. I think that movement saved my life 100%. I would say I’m lucky to be talking now… I then just knew I needed to get across to the hard shoulder, but I didn’t know how.”

Lady Victoria Starmer’s ‘Labour red’ dress is from Kate Middleton-loved fashion brand[5]
The smashed windscreen of Chris' van
The smashed windscreen of Chris’ van (
Rachel Benn/SWNS)
The piece of metal that hit Chris' vehicle
The piece of metal that hit Chris’ vehicle (
Rachel Benn/SWNS)

Rachel, who was sat next to Chris in the passenger seat when the incident unfolded, said she was shocked to see the state of his terrible injuries. She added: “There was just a big bang, but it was just confusing from my part. I couldn’t see what had happened. And then Chris just said, ‘My arm has gone’. I actually leaned over and looked. I wasn’t sure if it was there or not… But I said, ‘It’s still there.’

“Chris then had the instinct to get the van over to the hard shoulder, but after the adrenaline wore off, he started to scream in pain.” The pair, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, were travelling with their Labrador Darcy in the outside lane of the motorway on June 21 this year when the incident took place.

Rachel, a financial advisor, said she had quickly rung for an ambulance as soon as they pulled over on the side of the road. And when she jumped out of the cab to find some painkillers for Chris as they waited, she then found the strange lump of metal in the back of the van.

She said: “The ambulance seemed to take forever to come, and that’s when I found what had come through the windscreen. I saw this red object. I didn’t recognise it. Chris had taken some tools with us, but when I picked it up, I realised it was covered in oil. I picked it up and said ‘What’s this’. And he said, ‘That’s what’s come through the windscreen.’

Chris Benn's injuries.
Chris Benn’s injuries (
Rachel Benn/SWNS)
Chris' injuries after he was left inches from death
Chris’ injuries after he was left inches from death (
Rachel Benn/SWNS)

Kingpin locks are usually fixed to lorries to prevent thieves from stealing trailers, but Chris believes that a driver may have headed off with one unfastened. He added: “Somebody knows that when they got to their destination that their kingpin lock that they took off wasn’t there.”

Chris was taken to hospital and required a blood transfusion before undergoing surgery on his shoulder. He also suffered a ruptured muscle on his shoulder, which doctors have said they’ll be unable to mend, and expects to spend at least a year in recovery. Chris, who also anticipates he’ll be off work for at least six months, is now determined to find out the reason why the accident happened. He added: “I don’t believe that they have done it on purpose… but I just need to know.”

A spokesperson from Warwickshire Police[6] said: “We’re investigating an incident where an object went through a campervan window causing serious injury to the shoulder of the driver. The driver a man in his 50s went to hospital with his injuries. The incident was reported to police at 2.50pm on June 21.”


  1. ^ campervan (
  2. ^ M42 (
  3. ^ Birmingham (
  4. ^ Dorset (
  5. ^ Lady Victoria Starmer’s ‘Labour red’ dress is from Kate Middleton-loved fashion brand (
  6. ^ Warwickshire Police (