JOLIET, Ill. - A driver was killed Tuesday afternoon when a 100-pound wheel hub came loose from a semitrailer on Interstate 80 near Joliet and smashed into their windshield.
About 2:20 p.m., the semitrailer was headed east on I-80 when a wheel hub came off the trailer's rear axel near Rowell Avenue and crossed over into the westbound lanes of traffic, according to Illinois State Police.
The lost hub collided with the windshield of a passenger car as it headed west, killing the female driver at the wheel, state police said. Her identity was not immediately released pending notification of family.
"First thing I thought of was that could happen to anyone at any time," said witness Rob Bishop. "And that poor person in that vehicle probably never saw it coming."
Bishop said the victim's SUV took a direct hit.
"There was two state police officers next to it and there was a pretty big gaping hole in the windshield right in front of where the driver's face would have been," Bishop said.
Three years ago, ABC7 looked into similar crashes and discovered that they are rare, but often go unreported.
"You've got a passenger car tire that weighs approximately 50 or 60 pounds coming at you at perhaps 100 miles per hour," said engineer Mark Bailey. "It's basically a 100 mile per hour fastball coming right at you."
The right lane of the westbound expressway was closed for an investigation, but were reopened by 5:30 p.m.
State Police released information within hours of the accident in hopes of finding a witness to help pinpoint the exact cause.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2018.)
ABC7 Eyewitness News contributed to this report.