In what police are describing as a “freak” tractor trailer accident, a 29-year veteran of the Atlanta Fire Department was injured when a tire apparently flew off a passing tractor trailer and struck the firefighter, causing serious injury.
The firefighter was putting out brush fire along Interstate 285 near Langford Parkway in Atlanta when he was struck by a piece of the blown out tire, causing a brain injury and a lower spinal cord injury near his pelvis. The firefighter, Willie Surrey, 56, also suffered broken bones, cuts and bruises.
The firefighter was in critical condition, but he has since stabilized and is expected to recover. No charges were filed against the truck driver, but the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.
This incident illustrates the dangers inherent in the operation of tractor trailers on the roadways. The momentum and force that are generated by these trucks travelling at great speed is enough to cause anything ejecting off the vehicles to be a lethal projectile.
When one is injured by a projectile ejected from a tractor trailer while driving, it is very likely that the driver of the rig will not stop because he does not even know he caused an accident or injury. In that circumstance, the injured party may not have any recourse against the tractor trailer driver, his employer or the insurance company. This makes it even more critical that you purchase the maximum allowable uninsured and underinsured coverage available. If you cannot identify the tortfeasing tractor trailer, your own insurance is your only hope.
Freak Accident Injures AFR Firefighter, June 13, 2009, MyFoxAtlanta.com
Firefighter Hit by Blown Tire Recovering, June 13, 2009, WSB News
Firefighter Hit by Blown Tire Recovering , June 13, 2009, WSB News