It 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.
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