Motorcyclist Struck By Tractor-Trailer’s Exploding Tire in Missouri

A male Festus, Missouri resident was struck by an airborne tire tread that exploded from the wheel of a tractor-trailer when the resident was traveling on Interstate 44 on his motorcycle. The motorcyclist was struck on June 13, 2012 at 1:25pm in Phelps County.

Kenneth A. McGugin was traveling on eastbound I-44 in a 1995 Peterbilt Tractor-Trailer shortly before the accident occurred. John D. Rust was traveling on his 2009 Triumph Motorcycle on eastbound I-44 in an adjacent lane from McGugin’s tractor-trailer. McGugin attempted to pass Rust but a tire tread spontaneously exploded from one of the wheels of the tractor-trailer. The tire tread was subsequently forced into the air and struck Rust. Rust’s motorcycle did not sustain any kind of damage, but Rust sustained minor injuries due to the tread striking him. The tractor-trailer only sustained minor damage due to the loss of its tire tread.

Missouri State Highway Patrol recognized that Rust sustained moderate injuries and requested for medical attention for Rust’s injuries. Rust was subsequently transported to Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri by Phelps County Ambulance services.

Missouri statute § 304.016 sets forth certain procedures for passing vehicles on roadways. Normally, a driver of any motor vehicle must pass another vehicle on the left-hand side when attempting to pass a vehicle traveling in the same direction. Passing to the right-hand side is often forbidden unless certain conditions are met (the overtaken vehicle is about to make a left turn or the drivers are on a “city street with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two or more lines of vehicles in each direction). However, even proper passing of vehicles can only do so much when something unexpected occurs, such as a sudden loss of control of the vehicle or something coming off of the vehicle as to endanger adjacent vehicles. When passing a vehicle, it is always possible that something can expose an adjacent vehicle to danger such as attached equipment coming loose and potentially striking an adjacent vehicle or the sudden destruction of tire treads striking adjacent vehicles.

In this scenario, especially for truck drivers that may operate in Missouri, the risks of any piece of equipment or part of a large semi-truck or tractor-trailer and subsequently striking adjacent motorists are always present. Federal safety regulations often require semi-trucks to be in good repair and of good construction to make sure nothing comes loose during traveling. This even includes making sure that a semi-truck’s tires are sufficiently in good repair. In a scenario such as this news story, it would still be best to contact a Missouri semi-truck lawyer for advice. In a Missouri semi-truck accident, there are always small components concerning a semi-truck accident that may reveal a semi-truck accident to truly be a scenario of negligence or more as opposed to a mere unexpected accident.

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