It wasn’t a stalled vehicle or some bloke proposing to his lady that turned Tuesday morning’s commute into a parking lot — instead, it was a tragic freak accident.
According to the Houston Police Department, a red Ford F-150 pickup truck, traveling in a southbound lane of Interstate 45 near San Jacinto in downtown Houston, lost its left front wheel, which then bounced over the concrete median barrier and crashed into the front windshield of a red Ford Explorer.
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Police say that the male driver of the SUV, who was driving in a northbound lane, died at the scene; KHOU’s traffic helicopter shows photos of the smashed vehicle. The accident, which happened just before 6 a.m., blocked all northbound lanes of the Pierce Elevated near Bagby until approximately 9 a.m.
"The driver of the pickup truck remained at the scene, was questioned and released," Houston police said in a statement. They have yet to identify the man who died.
Wheels and tires bouncing into people and killing them – as when a fan died during the 1987 Indianapolis 500 after a tire from Tony Bettenhausen Jr.’s car flew from the track and into the last row of the grandstands – is one of the most horrific things ever. For those who were cursing and blaming the so-called “idiot drivers” for the freeway's closure, shame on you.
The Gulf Freeway is now operating normally.