The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it eloquently: "[t]here was nothing anyone could do, especially not in morning rush hour traffic." That is the way a tragic accident was described after a truck tire flew across I-85 into oncoming traffic, killing a woman.
A witness reported that the tire flew 50 feet in the air. Sadly, it landed directly on the roof and windshield of a van driven by a local mom who was driving her teen-age daughter to school. Although the teen was not physically harmed, she was helped by a witness who saw her screaming out of the roof of her mom's van. Her mother likely died instantly and the young teen was likely in shock.
There are no words for the pain she and her father and family must be feeling. My heart goes out to them. I understand the pain a fatal accident can cause as I have supported and counseled many families in my law practice as a DeKalb County auto accident lawyer.
The DeKalb County police are reported to have identified the owner of the 1998 Dodge Ram 3500 which lost its tire as the driver traveled northbound on I-85. A front tire not only came off the truck, but traveled over the concrete median.
Thus far, what caused the tire to come off the truck's wheel is not known. It is also not known whether the owner, who was also driving the truck at the time of the accident, will face any charges for the death of the other driver. According to reports, the driver advised that he moved his truck quickly away as he was avoiding a vehicle that had entered his lane. It is likely that investigators will want to know whether any work had been done recently on the wheel or the tire and whether it was properly mounted. They might also try to determine whether the truck had any defect or damage that would have caused the tire to fly off in a defensive move made by the truck's driver as he reported.
One witness described his fear and horror as he watched the accident unfold. He said he happened to be traveling behind the van that was hit directly by the flying tire. He also noted that the van driver probably saved lives since her foot was on the brake and she hit the median. Had she gone into traffic, even greater harm might have occurred to other vehicles.
The witness was truly a Good Samaritan and ran to help the screaming teen as he was concerned for her safety. He even checked the teen's mom to determine whether she was still alive. The young teen was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, but thankfully she was not injured seriously. The AJC also reports that the teen's father contacted the witness to thank him for caring for his daughter in such a terrifying circumstance. He has lost his wife so suddenly that he was likely still in shock.
Last summer, we learned about another tragic accident in which a young boy passed away after being hit by flying concrete, loosened from a median wall by a tractor-trailer. Road debris or flying debris can absolutely cause seriously harm or death on our roads. When you see something in the road that doesn't belong there, contact authorities so that it can be removed.