Airborne Tire Kills Man on Route 128 in Lexington, MA

On Tuesday, January 26, 26-year-old Charles Hu was killed on Route 128 in Lexington, MA, when a wheel broke away from a pickup truck and crashed into his sedan. According to reports from The Boston Globe and other outlets, the tire separated from the axle of Ram pickup truck that was being driven by a 19-year-old Amesbury woman. The tire broke off the truck, crossed a median and struck Hu’s vehicle, as well as a Toyota Highlander that was being driven by a 50-year-old Braintree man.

According to The Boston Globe, authorities are planning to investigate why the wheel broke away from the truck. Their inquiry will include an examination of the truck, the evidence collected from the scene and the truck’s service records. Additionally, investigators will determine whether recalls were issued for the Ram’s vehicle axle or wheelbase. A witness who spoke to the Boston Herald stated that the tire flew as high as 20 feet into the air before crashing down on the Toyota Camry being driven by Hu.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle accidents caused 32,719 deaths in 2013, the most recent year for which data is public. In Massachusetts alone, 309 fatal crashes resulting in 326 deaths occurred in 2013.

Tuesday’s tire strike accident is just one of several serious accidents that have occurred on Route 128 in Lexington in over the past year. Earlier this year, three people suffered serious injuries in a wrong-way crash on the Burlington/Lexington line, causing the northbound side of Route 128 to shut down for two hours. In September 2015, a tractor-trailer rollover in Lexington required a rescue of the truck’s driver. And in June of 2015, two people were taken to the hospital after another tractor-trailer accident on Route 128.

Aerial view of a black pickup truck parked on the side of a highway

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