Tires have been known to come off cars, trucks, and trailers causing crashes or close calls. It's not an unusual event, and it's something that's almost always preventable. 17 News spoke with a lawyer and a local mechanic who both say lack of maintenance is usually the cause.
Video found on YouTube shows an incident outside Houston. A sergeant pulls over to help a man change a tire when a loose tire comes whizzing down the highway, grazing, but not hurting the lawman.
That happened three years ago. But, there are videos all over the website showing wheels breaking free from vehicles and trailers. It's something CHP Officer Robert Rodriquez has seen firsthand.
"You know there was a case when something like that did happen when we just saw a tire rolling down the freeway," explained Rodriguez. "It was when I worked off of Interstate 5 in the Buttonwillow area."
And, Bakersfield attorney Timothy Lemucchi, says injury cases and one fatal case involving tires have crossed his desk.
"Yes, they are not infrequent," said Lemucchi. "I've personally handled maybe as many as five myself."
Lemucchi says, although engineers and metal specialists will look at the cause for manufacturing faults if attorneys are involved, most of the time that's not the issue.
"A tire should not come off a trailer. They shouldn't come off of vehicles. So there is usually a reason, and it's usually poor maintenance," said Lemucchi.
Gregg Pierucci, owner of Advanced Muffler and Automotive in downtown Bakersfield, agrees.
"All the time. It's not uncommon due to lack of maintenance on people's vehicles. Wheel bearings have a tendency to seize up when they are not greased properly. Lug nuts loosen up. They should be checked periodically," said Pierucci.
Pierucci says ideally those checks should be done once a month. But, you should always have wheels looked at if steering doesn't feel solid or if the vehicle is making a noise.
Pierucci also showed us what can happen if wheels are left sitting, neglected for months.
"You can see how the grease is all dried up. There is water on top of it. This is something that shouldn't roll down the road," said Pierucci.
Lemucchi says it's likely no criminal charges will be filed in Tuesday's crash on Highway 99 where a woman was killed by a tire that came loose from a trailer. That's because, he says, it doesn't appear to be deliberate.
The CHP says the entire wheel assembly came off of the trailer involved and they have requested to inspect it.