NO INJURIES FROM FLYING BUS TIRE ON THE GARDINER
Saturday, January 24, 2015 Toronto Sun, By Chris Doucette
TORONTO - Three people narrowly escaped injury when a wheel flew off a commercial bus and smashed into their van on the Gardiner Expwy. Toronto Police said the bus was travelling west near Hwy. 427 when two rear wheels suddenly broke off around 8 p.m. Friday. One wheel jumped the median and struck the back of an eastbound van, causing the vehicle to spin around and come to rest facing oncoming traffic, police said.
“The last thing you want is a 100-pound rim and tire coming at you at any speed, let alone highway speed,” Const. Clint Stibbe, of Traffic services, said Saturday. “So we’re very fortunate nobody was hurt.”
The driver of the van, who was with his wife and a friend, described the terrifying moment of impact to a CP24 reporter at the scene. “It felt like a freight train hit or a bomb just went off,” he said. “It hit the back end of the car; the jolt was incredible.” The driver also remembered the impact was accompanied by “a thunderous sound.” “It hit us so hard that it spun us around almost instantly,” he said. “My fear was that we were actually going to flip over.”
The bus was wrapped in a Centennial Colts banner, but the college was quick to clarify the commercial vehicle is not owned by the school and none of its sports teams were onboard. “It is important to note that this is not our bus, nor was it being used by Centennial at the time of the accident,” Ann Buller, president and CEO of Centennial College, said in a statement Saturday. Buller noted the bus was actually carrying flight attendants heading to Pearson airport.
“Thankfully, there were no injuries,” Buller said. The bus is owned and operated by Proway Tours and Transportation. The Etobicoke company’s owner, who wouldn’t give his name, said the bus in question has had never broken down before.
“It looks like this was just a mechanical breakdown, possibly caused by metal fatigue,” he said. “It was just bad luck.” The owner – relieved nobody was hurt – said the buses he leases are inspected daily by mechanics before hitting the road. “Unfortunately, once in a while, anything mechanical can break down and that’s what happened here,” he said.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been laid at this point. “Our commercial vehicle investigators inspected the bus last night,” Stibbe said. However, he said police are not yet ready to reveal the findings of that inspection.
WHEEL-CHECK®: High visibility loose wheel-nut indicator
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