Drivers ID'd in fatal flying tire accident on inbound Bishop Ford

WLS logo
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Victim identified in Bishop Ford fatal
Jovanka Mijatov of Schererville, Ind., was killed when a tire flew off an SUV and struck her car headon.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 64-year-old woman was killed when a flying tire struck her car on the inbound Bishop Ford Freeway just south of 130th Street on Wednesday around 6 a.m.

Jovanka Mijatov of Schererville, Ind., was killed when the tire struck her white 2011 Nissan Versa head-on near the Steel Bridge, crushing the windshield and roof.

The tire, which had come off a southbound green 1997 Chevy Blazer, bounced across the median and into the northbound lanes, according to police.

"That vehicle had lost a rear tire. That tire flew over the median and struck another vehicle," Sgt. Jeff Dybeck, Illinois State Police, said.

Emergency crews extricated Mijatov from the car, state police said. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with serious injuries, where she later died.

The SUV skidded to a stop on the right shoulder of the outbound Bishop Ford. The tire that flew off was found 600 feet from the crash.

The driver of the SUV, Mariana Blanco, 48, was not injured. She is charged with not having valid insurance, not having a valid vehicle registration, and use of unsafe tires.

"She called me immediately when she lost her tire, and I told her I'll be right there. Then later she called me and said, 'Don't come. I'm in the police car,'" Blanco's sister Rocio Fernandez said. Blanco was headed home after working the night-shift when the accident occurred, Fernandez said.

There were no passengers in either Mijatov or Blanco's vehicles. No one else was injured.

Mijatov worked at a Chicago bank, neighbors said, and lived alone. She has two adult sons.

"We talked Saturday and Monday, and now she's not here," Doris Smith, Mijatov's neighbor, said.

The two right lanes of inbound I-94 were closed for about four hours to conduct an investigation, leading to a major backup during the Wednesday morning commute. All lanes reopened around 10 a.m. Wednesday.