A Saskatoon woman ran into a big problem while driving on Highway 11 two weeks ago.
Danica Lorer told 650 CKOM she hit something – at first thinking it was some sort of animal, maybe a deer or a moose.
“All of a sudden, into my passenger side headlight, I just see a flash and ‘boom,'” she said.
Lorer kept driving for a few minutes after the impact, but something wasn’t quite right.
“There was a strange smell in the passenger compartment of the car, like of burning rubber,” she said.
Lorer said she pulled over when she noticed her “check airbag” light was on.
“I got out of the car and the front end was just…where the headlight was, it was just obliterated.”
She called RCMP, then phoned her husband to come and get her.
After giving a statement to a police officer at the scene, Lorer and her husband went back to the area of the collision to try and figure out what happened.
“He came back and he had this stupid look on his face, and I said, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘You were hit by a tire,'” she said.
Lorer said her husband went back the next morning and sent her a picture of the semi-truck wheel sitting in a field, with pieces of her car still in the rim.
“It had hit my car, hit the ditch, (bounced) again over the barbed wire fence and he said it was about 20 feet into the field,” she said.
Lorer noted there were several semi-trucks on the highway with her that night, but said she has no idea where the wheel came from.
Lorer’s thankful she wasn’t injured and hopes people hearing her story will take some time to check their vehicles.
A spokesperson for SGI said the insurer doesn’t keep specific records on wheels falling off of vehicles and causing damage.
He said those types of incidents would be lumped in with other situations where objects in roadways cause damage – such as trees or rocks.
However, he said discussions with the company’s adjusters suggest it’s rare to see a wheel come off and damage another vehicle.
In cases where a vehicle owner is found to negligent, their liability insurance would have to cover damages. If the incident is found to have been caused through the fault of a mechanic or tire shop, the vehicle owner would have to pursue the shop directly.
Faithfull Tirecraft owner Jae Malinowski said there could be two reasons why the tire flew off the semi truck.
“Mechanical failure or improper maintenance is usually why tires come off,” he said. “Trucking companies need to follow retorquing procedures and change out their studs along with hub bearings.”
Malinowski said there is no such thing as a freak accident.
“There is always a reason why improper maintenance procedures were handled,” he said.
Malinowski said most trucking companies follow strict maintenance procedures to prevent these sort of things.
There are fines up to $100,000 across Canada for a semi wheel detaching while driving.