Runaway Tire Smashes Into SUV on Beltway

Truck driver blames highway debris for runaway tires

By Matthew Stabley
|  Thursday, Aug 27, 2009  |  Updated 10:17 AM EDT
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Dump Truck Dumps Two Wheels on SUV

NBCWashington.com

The offending tire.

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"God Saved Us"

Just an hour after pledging his allegiance to the United States for his citizenship, Ravi Radhakrishnan thought he was going to die on the Beltway as a truck's tire crashed into his SUV.

Dump Truck Dumps Two Wheels on SUV

A dump truck lost two of its rear wheels on the Beltway, causing an SUV accident.
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A Lexus SUV collided with a wild wheel on the Beltway when it fell off a truck hauling gravel Wednesday.

The driver of the eastbound truck, Joe Louis, blamed debris on the highway for knocking loose two rear tires near Connecticut Avenue, News4's Derrick Ward reported.

One of the tires bounced across the Inner Loop and over the jersey wall before striking the side of the westbound SUV. The occupants, Ravi Radhakrishnan and his wife, A man and a woman in the SUV were taken to Suburban Hospital but weren't seriously injured.

Louis managed to safely bring his truck to a stop on the shoulder.

"Well, it comes from experience driving tucks, heavy equipment," he told Ward.

The Radhakrishnans had received their U.S. citizenship just an hour before.

"I didn't know what to do," Ravi Radhakrishnan told News4's Craig Melvin. "I couldn't stop because of the hundreds of cars behind me. So I just paused for a moment, trying to slow down, and I saw it coming."

Unable to stop, he swerved, Melvin reported.

"When you know you're going to die, why do you be scared of something?" he said. "There's nothing to be scared about."

But after the impact, he was able to pull the vehicle over.

"God saved us," he said.

Last year, a similar incident resulted in the death of a pregnant woman.

"Most drivers are frightened by sharing the road with big trucks, and that feeling's exacerbated when an incident like this occurs," said John Townsend, of AAA Mid-Atlantic.

"The margin of error is very slim," Townsend added. "And in this case you have to thank providence, divine providence, for escaping something like that."

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