FITCHBURG, Mass. — A 42-year-old woman was killed and a 40-year-old man was seriously injured when a tire crashed through the windshield of their SUV along a Massachusetts freeway Wednesday afternoon.
Now, state police are looking to the public’s help in finding the other driver involved in the crash, which occurred along Route 2 westbound in Fitchburg.
Investigators are trying to determine what vehicle the tire and rim came from, and whether the tire came off the axle or was being transported and became unsecured.
Massachusetts State Police, who called the crash a freak accident, said the vehicle may have taken Interstate 190 south from the area.
The name of the woman who died was not released.
Police sources told WFXT that the woman, a mother, was coming back from grocery shopping.
“A truck pulling a trailer in the eastbound lane had a tire come off it,” said Fitchburg Fire Chief Anthony Marrama.
The tire flew across the median and onto the other side of the highway, smashing into her Jeep.
“She was unconscious at that point,” Marrama said.
State police said they’ve identified another vehicle that was in that area, but as of Wednesday night, they had not determined whether that vehicle or another still unidentified vehicle was the source of the tire and rim.
“Whether it came off of the trailer itself that was being towed, or it was on the trailer, and it was a loose piece of debris that fell off? The tire was being transported and fell off? We are not sure. You certainly aren’t expecting some type of debris or tire coming off of a tractor-trailer from the opposite side of the direction," Marrama said.
The fire chief said there is no way the woman could have avoided this.
The man was flown to a hospital and the woman riding in the car was sent by ambulance to Leominster Hospital. She was later flown to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where she died.
Details on the man’s injuries or his condition Wednesday night were not immediately available.
Anyone who saw the crash or has any information that may be helpful is asked to call the State Police-Leominster Barracks at 978-537-2188.