Detached Big Rig Tires Crush Passenger Vehicle Along California Interstate
Morongo, CA – Two California women are lucky to be alive after the vehicle they were traveling in was struck by a set of big rig tires in what California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials are calling an “unusual incident.”
In a post on social media, the San Gorgonio Pass Area CHP shared photos of a severely damaged Subaru that had been hit by a tandem set of tires after they had become detached from a semi-truck on Interstate 10 on Monday.
According to Officer Matthew Napier, Public Information Officer with CHP, the incident happened just before 6 p.m. near Maki Road in Morongo.
A preliminary investigation revealed a tractor-trailer, driven by 48-year-old Edwardo Tanabelerma, of Indio, CA, was traveling eastbound on I-10 when a tandem set of tires from the driver’s side detached from the axle.
Once detached, the tires continued traveling eastbound “before bouncing over the center divider wall” and entering the westbound lanes just west of Maki Road.
The tires landed “directly on top” of a Subaru, which was traveling westbound on I-10, CHP stated.
The Subaru was being driven by 32-year-old Xiaohan Wu, with Zhen Zhang, also 32, traveling in the passenger seat.
Both women are from Berkeley, CA.
After striking the Subaru, the tires continued and struck a Ford Ranger, driven by 48-year-old Tito Martinez, of Hemet, CA.
Officer Napier informed Transportation Nation Network (TNN) that Zhang suffered a fractured back, broken nose, a laceration to her forehead and various cuts and scratches.
Amazingly, Wu only suffered minor injuries and scratches.
Tanabelerma and Martinez were not injured in the incident.
After losing the tires, Tanabelerma was able to safely bring the semi to a stop.
Witness statements reveal a small fire was seen near where the tires detached from the semi, which was able to be extinguished.
Officer Napier confirmed Tanabelerma was not cited at the scene.
CHP stated it will partner with officers from the CHP Desert Hills Inspection Facility to “conduct a thorough inspection on the semi to determine the cause for the mechanical failure.”
Officials also took the opportunity to remind motorists to “expect the unexpected.”
“Having situational awareness could mean the difference between life and death when faced with an unexpected challenge,” the post stated.
See the entire post from CHP below.