The driver of an SUV on Highway 400 south of Highway 9 is "lucky to be" alive after a set of wheels came off a gravel hauler this afternoon, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
The vehicle was travelling southbound on the highway near a construction zone when it was struck on the passenger side of the front window by the two attached tires that came off the passing truck, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said.
While no one was injured in today's incident, Schmidt said in on online video that a woman was seriously injured in a similar incident on Highway 400 just last week.
"The driver of this car here is very lucky because this brings back memories to another wheel separation we had where the driver was seriously injured," he said.
A 29-year-old Barrie woman was airlifted to a Toronto trauma centre with serious injuries June 12 after a northbound vehicle on Highway 400 lost its wheel and struck her car in the southbound lanes south of Barrie, between Highway 89 and Innisfil Beach Road. The wheel struck the passenger area and hood of the woman's Volkswagen before ricocheting off the highway.
Today, the wheels detached as a single unit, with the majority of the studs still intact and attached, Schmidt said, which is unusual.
"In typical wheel separations, they come off individually and usually the brake drum will fall off, as well as (the) studs."
Schmidt cautioned drivers to "check your nuts, make sure wheel fasteners are tight and appropriately torqued down."
"Again, these are preventable situations dependent on proper maintenance," he said. "This is not something we want to see anymore, please be careful out there."
In a typical year, 120 to 130 wheels separation incidents occur, he added, estimating about 60 have occurred so far this year.
The investigation is ongoing.