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Oakville man dies after his vehicle was struck by a flying wheel on QEW

The first car that was struck by the wheel | OPP HSD
The first car that was struck by the wheel | OPP HSD

A stretch of the QEW was shut down for hours today after a flying wheel smashed into three vehicles and left a man dead.

The driver of the first vehicle the wheel struck sustained injuries that were fatal. The individual was a 77-year-old man from Oakville, and was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger in his car, a 77-year-old woman, was not hurt but was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. 

The woman somehow managed to steer the vehicle safely, which was traveling at highway speed, to the side of the road after the wheel had crashed into the driver's side of the car, claims Sergeant Kerry Schmidt from the Ontario Provincial Police's (OPP) highway safety division.

The wheel went on to strike two more vehicles before coming to a stop by finally lodging underneath a vehicle. These vehicles were not seriously damaged.

OPP had initially received a call about a collision at 11:20 a.m.

Passersby claimed to have seen a tire and wheel assembly come loose off of a boat trailer that was being pulled by a pickup truck on Winston Churchill Boulevard.

The driver of the pickup truck has since been located, and has spoken to OPP officers.

Based on the information gleaned so far in the investigation, the wheel "could have come loose due to a mechanical or installation error," revealed Sgt. Schmidt. "The trailer has three axles and one of the wheels on one of the axles separated."

He added, "there's really nothing a driver can do to react quickly enough to avoid a collision like this."

"For anyone driving down the highway, you're never going to expect to see something like this coming toward you, and by the time you realize it's on a collision course with you, you really have no time to respond." - Sgt. Schmidt, OPP

The driver purchased the boat trailer on Tuesday and was taking it to a marina for the first time in a long while.  

Sgt. Schmidt feels this tragic accident is "another reminder to anyone who is pulling equipment that doesn't get used very often, to ensure that it is properly maintained, that it's running properly. We know how quickly these things can deteriorate and end up in a situation like this."

Investigators are studying the boat trailer at the marina.

If you have information about this incident, please call the Burlington OPP at 905-681-2511.