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Posted on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Police: Tire blowout led to Sunday I-94 crash

By Kyle Feldscher

A 56-year-old man was taken to the hospital Sunday with non-life-threatening injuries after a tire from a pickup truck flew into the windshield of the vehicle he was driving.

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A 56-year-old man was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries after this crash on Interstate 94 Sunday.

Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

The tire flew into the 2013 Ford Escape, which was then hit by a 2003 Jeep, Michigan State Police Sgt. Mark Thompson said Monday. The Sunday afternoon crash then caused a traffic backup that spread for miles on both sides of Interstate 94.

Thompson said an eastbound pickup truck lost a tire that flew across the median and hit the Escape driven by a 56-year-old man about 12:35 p.m. Sunday near Stone School Road. It’s unknown what caused the pickup truck to lose its tire, but it appeared to be a simple blowout, Thompson said.

The tire from the truck hit the man’s windshield and the woman driving the Jeep was unable to avoid hitting the Escape. Thompson said the investigation is ongoing but no one is deemed at-fault yet.

“We don’t have anybody at-fault because of the unique nature of the crash with the tire coming across the median,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s report on the man being taken to the hospital contradicts the statement by a witness who spoke to AnnArbor.com Sunday. Ally Norris told AnnArbor.com a woman was driving the vehicle struck by the tire.

Thompson did not have any information regarding an extrication at the scene of the crash. Ann Arbor Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Lowe said one driver was extricated from a vehicle involved in the crash.

Ann Arbor firefighters, Pittsfield Township firefighters and Huron Valley Ambulance personnel all responded to the crash. Onlookers reported six fire rucks, police cruisers and a pair of ambulances on the crash scene.

The crash caused an hours-long back up in both direction and Norris said vehicles were only able to pass the crash on the westbound shoulder.

Thompson said the full report on the crash was not yet completed Monday afternoon.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.

Comments

bitchykitty

Wed, Apr 17, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

That's sad that the police don't even know the correct information but an eyewitness does. I happen to know the person involved in the accident and it wasn't a man, let alone a Ford Escape...

Fat Bill

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 10:55 a.m.

A blowout did not make sense; pieces of tires coming over the wall? That a whole wheel assembly would come off and fly across is far more plausible. This usually occurs when a bearing is not properly maintained, or when a vehicle is overloaded. Typically this will occur on rear wheel drive pickups and commercial trucks. Thank goodness it wasn't 300 pounds of road tractor wheel!

walker101

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Seems to be pretty common with flying tires all over the country with tragic results. I wonder if anyone has investigated what vehicles or types of suspension that are possibly defective.

Tom Teague

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

I'll confirm a2grateful's account. The wheel and tire were lying on the right shoulder of the west-bound lanes. There was nearly a second accident when a driver, who was visibly texting, skidded to a stop just behind the stopped west bound traffic. This was just as the emergency responders were arriving.

a2cents

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

As long as MI ignores vehicle safety inspections, perhaps we should keep unlimited no-fault coverage.

a2grateful

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

The photo of the vehicle above does not depict the car that was hit by the wheel and tire assembly.

a2grateful

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

My impression, as I drove by shortly after accident occurrence: The entire wheel assembly broke off the eastbound I-94 pickup truck: steel wheel and tire. The truck appeared to be over-loaded. Its wheels and tires appeared to be oversized, not stock size. There was broken metal hub debris in the eastbound lane, behind the truck. This was not a simple blowout situation. The wheel assembly bounced down the road, hopped the concrete barrier and hit a westbound vehicle in the area of its windshield and roof, caving both in. At the time I drove by, a fireman was using jaws of life to pry the windshield and crushed roofline away from the passenger compartment. One ambulance was on the scene. Traffic was backed up in both directions. The eastbound lane was blocked because the fire truck was parked at the wall, facing the opposite direction of the wreck.

justcurious

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

That's what I thought jumped the wall, not just the tire.

justcurious

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

I guess this just shows that witness accounts can vary regarding anything that happens. But I dn't think tires just "come off" for no reason. I wonder what the reason was here. I once saw a vehicle crash after a tie rod broke. That was scary.

seldon

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

I drove through there shortly after the incident but before the first responders were on the scene, and there was a pickup truck off to the side in the Eastbound lanes.

justcurious

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Cory C, you said what I "wanted" to say but thought I would get deleted for saying. Yes "alligators" as the truckers call them are very dangerous. Especially if you're on a motorcycle.

Cory C

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

This is all assuming that the "Pickup truck" in the article is correct. If it's a semi truck, they use what are called "re-treads" a lot more often. They are literally bald tires that have had treads re-glued onto the outside of them. 95% of the time when you see pieces of semi tires on the side of the road, it's from re-treads that have come undone. Very common. I hate retreads. For good reasons. (I also wish I could edit posts, but oh well)

Cory C

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

You're kinda right. There's always a reason. But usually it's something like underinflation leading to excessive wear of the sidewalls, which in turn leads to excessive heat generated in the tire, and more excessive wear and breakdown of the tire. Or it could also be due to tires in poor condition. Especially during times of year where we see a large temperature change (people thinking they can make it a few more months on those bald tires before replacing them). But mostly it's attributed to poor tire (and vehicle) maintenance. So please everybody, check your tire pressure at least monthly, if not weekly. It really can be the difference between life and death, and takes less than 2 minutes to do. Not only that, but you'll see improved tire life, and fuel economy.