‘This could have been deadly’: vehicle hit by flying wheel on Toronto highway

A driver is lucky to be alive after a wheel flew off a transport truck and hit his vehicle on a Toronto highway Thursday morning, police say. 

Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the incident happened on the westbound lanes of Highway 401 at Highway 427.

Schmidt said a transport truck was travelling when one of its wheels separated and flew into a moving vehicle.

Luckily for the driver, the wheel hit the side of his vehicle and he escaped without any injuries.

In a video posted on Twitter, Schmidt spoke to the driver, who said he saw the wheel flying toward him right before the impact.

“It came off the bridge and what happened is I just saw it at the last second. And what I did is I went to the second lane over here and I made sure no one was in the right lane really, really fast and I just moved over just in time. And it plowed in the side of me instead of my front windshield,” the driver, who has been identified as Mark, said.

Schmidt said the tire separated from the truck due to a lack of maintenance which resulted in a bearing failure.

Truck, flying wheel

In a second Twitter video, Schmidt examined the truck that lost its wheel and noted that the outer bearing was “melted right off,” likely due to no lubrication.

“As part of your daily (truck) inspection, this is what you need to look at and one of those things is hub oil, whether or not it’s below the minimum levels when fitted with a sight glass,” he said.

Schmidt reiterated how crucial it is for drivers to double-check their tires after completing any mechanical work.

“Check those wheel fasteners if you had them changed recently because of a brake job or because of the seasonal tire change. Check your wheel nuts and make sure they’re properly torqued and tightened down and they’re not going to fail,” he said.

“This could have been deadly and Mark is lucky that it didn’t go right into the occupant compartment,” he added.

The truck driver has been charged with a parts detached offence under the Highway Safety Act, which could carry a fine of up to $20,000. Schmidt said the driver and the the transportation company could face additional charges.

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