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Palm Tran questions whether tire company tightened lug nuts properly

Posted at 7:03 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-08 12:29:04-05

The Florida of High Patrol is investigating an early-morning crash on I-95 involving a Palm Tran bus Thursday morning.

RELATED: Driver's family reacts to crash

Palm Tran has released the video from the bus itself showing the moment a tire flew off into oncoming traffic, leading to chaos during the height of the morning commute.

At least four other cars were involved and two people were rushed to the hospital. Palm Tran officials confirm Goodyear changed the tires the day before.

So why did one fly off Thursday morning? That’s the focus of the investigation.

According to FHP troopers, when the rear tire flew off, the driver of the bus lost control and crashed into another car.

However, it was the wheel along with other debris that caused at least three other cars on I-95 southbound to crash, traffic backing up for miles.

A Palm Tran spokesperson said the bus had its tires replaced the day before the crash.  

“It looks like what occurred here is those wheels were not torqued or properly tightened enough in the back of the bus,” said Joe Harrington, spokesperson for Palm Tran.

Inspection records show the bus went in on schedule for an inspection Dec. 1.  

That inspection showed the tires needed to be replaced. So Goodyear, the company contracted to do Palm Tran’s tire maintenance, changed the tires.

Now, Palm Tran is investigating whether the major tire company did the job right.

“It is incumbent upon that consultant to make sure not only that these tires are properly torqued but they are inspected after that service occurs. We want to know if that occurred the way it was supposed to and if that could have been a factor in this accident,” said Harrington.

The driver of that vehicle did go to the hospital with minor injuries. He has been treated and released and is on medical leave while he recovers.

Palm Tran says all of this is still under investigation, but they immediately begin to check the other tires in its fleet.

Goodyear released the following statement Friday:

"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."