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Exclusive: Palm Tran driver's family discusses crash, wants answers

Posted at 12:03 AM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 17:52:23-05

The family of a Palm Tran driver reacted Thursday night to the video of their loved one surviving a harrowing crash on Interstate 95.

RELATED: Palm Tran questions tire company

Palm Tran driver Chief Kickingstallionsims' wife didn’t find out about the wreck that he was involved in Thursday morning until they got home from work. 

When WPTV-TV met Evette and Annalisa Gordon, they hadn’t even seen the video. So we watched it together. 

“He was probably saying, 'Holy crap, what is happening?” the driver's wife, Evette, said. 

“Holy crap,” Annalisa, his step daughter said. “That’s the first thing that popped into my head because on the way to work I literally passed it but I had no idea it was him at all.”

“He didn’t want other vehicles to get involved so he was trying to prevent it, looking at the video,” Evette said. 

The Palm Tran driver was traveling north on I-95 near Woolbright Road when the left rear tire came off.  The bus hit one car and the wall, and knocked over a light pole.  The wheel went over the wall into the southbound lanes and injured another person.

“He’s calm right now. He’s in pain. His whole body is in pain. By looking at him, you can see that he’s a little bit shaken up,” Evette said. 

“Chief is fine, we’re taking care of him. We’re hoping (the other injured person is) okay too,” Annalisa said. 

According to records, the bus was inspected on Dec. 1, which showed the tires needed to be changed. They were replaced Wednesday by Goodyear.

“The tires went in for inspection so if it did, and everything was fine how could this happen?” Annalisa questioned. 

Palm Tran said it is inspecting all the wheels in the fleet.

Goodyear released the following statement on Friday, December 8, 2017:

"Safety has always been and will always be of the utmost importance to Goodyear. We are currently working with Palm Tran on site to fully investigate the facts surrounding this important matter and help determine why this incident occurred."

Goodyear completed their investigation and released the following statement on Friday, December 15, 2017:

"Our investigation indicates that the wheel was not properly tightened by the installer.  This finding has been shared with the subcontractor, and the technician who performed the installation is no longer working on Goodyear customer accounts, including Palm Tran.  We regret that the proper procedure was not followed.   Safety has always been and will always be of the utmost importance to Goodyear, and we are committed to working together with Palm Tran to help prevent situations like this from occurring in the future."