MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South woman said a simple trip across the Hernando DeSoto Bridge left her traumatized and suffering from panic attacks, and she says UPS is to blame.
Tanzi Rene Muldrew remembers the exact moment she lost her sense of safety.
“It’s 3:29 p.m. I remember that time, Jan. 23,” she said.
She said she was driving from her hometown of Marion, Arkansas to her salon business in Memphis and was about to cross the I-40 bridge.
“And all of a sudden I just heard ‘pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat’ and I literally think someone is shooting at me,” said Muldrew.
But it wasn’t gunfire. Instead, she said rocks were hitting her windshield.
She said the rocks were coming from a UPS truck just head of her.
“I don’t know what to do because I have nowhere to go, you understand? Like I can’t get over. I can’t -- the only thing I can do is try to slow down,” she said.
That’s when she said she realized the truck had a damaged mud flap behind one of its wheels. Mud flaps are used to keep debris and rocks from flying toward other vehicles.
She said the UPS driver slowed down and she managed to take photos of the mud flap and the USDOT number -- the number the federal government assigns to commercial companies to keep track of safety information.
She said when she called UPS to report the incident, a supervisor at the regional office was no help.
She also reached out to the company on Twitter but hasn’t heard anything for weeks.
She said she now gets panic attacks every time she crosses the bridge, as many as four times a day, or gets near a semi.
Muldrew said during a recent trip across the bridge she had a panic attack after finding herself surrounded by trucks.
“I cried, and I’m no crybaby,” she said. “Everybody who knows me knows that I’m not a cry baby. I’m a pretty tough girl, but this has changed me forever.”
She wants UPS to pay to fix her windshield.
Tanzi said it’s not about money.
"Yeah, I have great insurance. I'm with State Farm. I can get my windshield fixed, but I shouldn't have to. I didn't do this. You did this. You should take responsibility," she said.
Muldrew said one of the reasons she shared her story is to highlight something she believes others have had to deal with.
"I want to know how many more people were affected because it's no longer even a question in my mind that this has only happened to me," she said.
WMC Action News 5 reached out to UPS. A company spokesman told us they would investigate Tanzi’s case and contact her soon.
Legal experts say in cases like this there are several factors to consider, including whether the rock or debris came from another vehicle or the road and what you're able to prove.
There are no federal regulations regarding mud flaps on semi-trucks.
Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi each have laws or regulations requiring commercial vehicles carrying heavy loads to have mud flaps.