police investigation1 Commerce Twp. Man Killed In Freak AccidentIt was a freak accident that killed a driver and shut down part of I-696 in Oak Park Monday night.

Michigan State Police say a wheel busted loose from one car and smashed into another car heading in the opposite direction.

Police say the wheel somehow got loose from the vehicle as it was travelling eastbound on I-696 at Coolidge.

The wheel became airborne, cleared the concrete median separating both directions of traffic, and entered the westbound lanes.

That’s when the tire hit an oncoming westbound vehicle, killing the driver, 44-year-old Athir Qarana.

Qarana’s uncle, Saleem, said Athir was a good man.

“My nephew, he was busy in his life — working day and night. He never had trouble with anything,” he said.

Saleem said the family believes in God, and their faith is keeping them strong. Qarana’s sister is flying in all the way from Qatar for the funeral.

It’s not yet known what may have led to the wheel coming off the eastbound vehicle. That stretch of I-696 was closed for part of the evening.

The incident remains under investigation.

This is the second time in three weeks a tire has hit and killed a driver on a Metro Detroit freeway. On October 22, a 25-year-old Southfield woman was killed on the Southfield Freeway near Curtis when a tire flew off a semi-truck, bounded over the median wall and hit her car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

In addition, WWJ listener Lee Temrowski of Utica said, while listening to the report about Monday night’s accident, he saw yet another accident involving a loose wheel. It happened around 8 a.m. on I-696 near I-75.

Temrowski said it took place right in front of him.

“A vehicle on the other side of the freeway that was traveling eastbound — that vehicle lost its tire. It came off the car, flew up into the air, over the median, into the westbound lanes, caused an accident. But, the tire bounced into the bushes on the side the freeway,” he said.

Luckily, police said there were no serious injuries in that accident.

(Copyright, 2010. WWJ Newsradio 950, All Rights Reserved.)

  1. dewey says:

    I’ve seen cars with obvious mechanical defects, and police cars traveling nearby take no notice. I’m surprised we don’t have more accidents like this one. The driver of the car which caused the accident should be charged with manslaughter; there’s no way they were unaware of the issue with their vehicle.

    1. J devaney says:

      Perhaps unrecognized. “I am missing a nut on that tire! How did that happen? Got to get it in to Costco for a fix. POW! tire off.

  2. J devaney says:

    Several of these wheels off. My daughter had one. Factory stud defect or factory over torque ?

  3. Professor Sayed A. Nassar, Oakland University says:

    Improper Lugnut tightening, inspection, and/or wheel design are often the reason for wheels to come off moving motor vehicles.

    At our university we do research and test for vibration induced loosening and fatigues-related failure.

  4. Doug C. says:

    Sorry,but a wheel rarely “suddenly” come off. There are 4/5/6 lugnuts that have to work their way off, and that does not happen instantaneously! There is usually a lot of vibration… and even noise… before the last one gives way. Not to mention the loose/sloppy steering, as the wheel starts to wobble.
    (But then again… sounds like something my late wife could have done…)

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