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Runaway tire slams through shop wall

Monday started like any other week at Brookhaven Body Shop -until a truck tire crashed through the restroom wall.

Around 9 a.m. Monday, two tires came off a northbound truck onInterstate 55 just past the Brookway Boulevard exit.

While one tire spun off in another direction, the other cametumbling toward the auto body shop on West Industrial Park Road.The interstate’s median, two southbound lanes of traffic and abarbed-wire fence didn’t slow the tire down.

“It probably bounced right over it,” said shop owner BarrySkates, trying to describe how the tire hit his business.

The tire, weighting an estimated 150 pounds, struck a 2000 FordRanger, then careened toward the building. The tire crashed throughthe wall of a unoccupied restroom, destroying a sink and otheritems before hitting a Lexus that was in the shop for work.

“It was loud,” said Ranger owner Chad Smith, recalling the tirecrash.

Skates was in his office when heard the tire hit the shopwall.

“It ricocheted and went straight through here,” Skates said,pointing to the hole in the wall made by the tire. “We didn’t hearit hit the truck.”

Shop employees estimated the tire was traveling 60-70 miles perhour.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Staff Sgt. Rod Crawford, whoresponded to the accident, said the tire’s speed was “impossible totell.” Freightliner truck driver James Voyles, of Leesville, La.,told authorities he was traveling the posted 70 miles-per-hourspeed limit when the tire came off.

“It’s reasonable to assume the tire wasn’t going any faster thanthat, but it didn’t lose any speed either,” Crawford said.

Crawford said a tire coming off a vehicle is not a frequentoccurrence, but “it’s not an isolated incident, either.” Typically,the trooper said, a crash can cause a tire to come off avehicle.

In Monday’s case, Crawford attributed the tires coming off thetruck to an equipment malfunction. He said no citations wereissued.

Crawford said the Ford Ranger was in a good spot to deflect thetire away from an occupied portion of the building.

“Had it not (been deflected), it could have gone in an officethat had several people in it,” Crawford said.

Smith agreed.

“Nobody got hurt, luckily,” Smith said.

Smith, who was at the body shop doing some computer work,admitted to being a little mad after the incident. He sounded moreunderstanding a short while later.

“You can’t blame it on anybody,” Smith said. “It wasn’t hisfault.”

The tire incident became the main topic of discussion the restof the morning and into the afternoon.

“We all laughed about it when it was over,” Smith said.