New York

Flying Tire Smashes Into Car on Long Island Highway, Killing Person Inside: Police

What to Know

  • One person is dead after a tire came off a vehicle on the Sunrise Highway in West Babylon and smashed into another car, killing a person
  • The victim in the freak accident has not been identified; police are asking for help finding the vehicle that lost the tires
  • The tire hit a second car on the highway, and the shaken driver of that SUV told News 4 she was "very lucky"

A tire flew off a vehicle traveling on a Long Island highway and hit a car, killing one person Thursday afternoon, officials said. 

The vehicle was going eastbound on the Sunrise Highway in West Babylon when a tire came off and flew into the westbound lanes, smashing into the front passenger side window of a car, according to the Department of Transportation.

The driver of the Saturn then lost control and hit the center median of the highway, and a person in the Saturn was killed. It's not clear if it was the car was occupied by anyone other than the driver. 

The tire then hit a second vehicle, a Chevy SUV with two people inside. The shaken driver in that SUV, Mary DiFranco-Garone, described the harrowing 30 seconds in which she witnessed the flying tire hitting the sedan. 

"It came from the other side of the highway, and it bounced, hit [the Saturn driver], he hit the wall to avoid him coming back, I swerved, and the tire hit me,"  she told News 4 New York.

"We're very lucky. That poor person, whoever they are. They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time," she said. 

A yellow tarp covered the crushed sedan as first responders attended to the scene. The tire was seen about 500 feet away from the crushed car. 

The victim has not been identified.

Transportation officials initially said the tire had come off a tractor-trailer but police later said they're not sure where the tires came from, and asked for the public's help in finding out where the tire came from. They also say there may have been two tires that fell off. 

The Sunrise Highway westbound and the service road were closed near the Robert Moses Causeway as police investigate but was reopened by late evening. 

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