If you’ve ever seen the debris of a tractor-trailer tire, sometimes called “road gator” because of its appearance, in the middle of the road, you are not alone. There are many reasons that could cause a truck tire to come apart or fly off the truck. These reasons include under-inflation. When a tire is under-inflated, it becomes too hot, which can cause separation or a blowout. Treadburn occurs when the tread on a tire is used up. This can also cause a tire to come apart. When the metal and rubber inside a tire become separated, it can cause the tire to break apart and scatter across the roadway.
The Macon Telegraph reports that the driver of an 18-wheeler is being charged after a separated tire killed a woman on I-75.
31-year-old Yurien Chavez Bello, the driver of a tractor-trailer rig, is facing charges of second-degree vehicular homicide in a crash where a tire from his rig crashed through the windshield of an SUV. The driver of the SUV, 36-year-old Jennifer Thomas, was killed.
Bello, who is from Miami, is also facing charges of defective tires and unsafe vehicle/equipment.
The crash occurred on Sunday, August 11th. Bello was driving his 18-wheeler north on Interstate 75 just north of Byron when two tires came off of his truck. One of the tires went over a 5-foot-tall concrete median, where it crashed into Thomas’ vehicle. The impact caused the SUV to hit another 18-wheeler, then crash into the median.
Thomas was killed instantly in the crash. Her parents and child were also in the vehicle and suffered from non-life-threatening injuries.
It is currently unknown what caused the tires to come off of the vehicle. In addition to the charges brought by the Georgia State Patrol, Bello is also facing charges from the Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division.