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Lost tire slams into Bergen County bus, severely injures man

Driver mistakes aren't the only reason motor vehicle accidents happen. Car and car part makers and mechanics can be liable for damage caused by defective design, manufacturing or flawed vehicle service. Unsafe cars may be recalled when a defect becomes apparent to the manufacturer or the federal government, but drivers are often unaware there's a mechanical or other problem until there's a car accident.

A Pine Hill Trailways bus was traveling through Ramsey in Bergen County when a nearby Lexus lost a front tire. The tire bounced from one side of the highway to the other over a divider and smashed into the windshield of the moving bus. The tire hit a male passenger, sitting in back of the bus driver, and injured three others including the bus operator.

The 49-year-old passenger struck by the tire was hospitalized with severe head injuries and was listed in critical condition. The bus driver, among the others whose injuries were minor, maintained control of the vehicle and was able to pull off the road safely. The bus was carrying about 50 passengers en route to Manhattan at the time of the bizarre morning accident.

Bus passengers said the tire entered the bus like "a cannonball" and ended up in the aisle between seats. A second Trailways driver, a passenger on the trip, helped offload other passengers; uninjured passengers were transferred to a separate bus to continue the journey. Police brought no charges against the Lexus driver.

Vehicles involved in auto accidents may be examined for mechanical defects, leading investigators to a vehicle manufacturer, auto servicer or commercial vehicle owner. Accident liability moves away from drivers when fault is traced to a poorly made car part or faulty service. Personal injury lawsuits shift to include third-party defendants never involved directly in a collision but, nonetheless, responsible for the property and personal damage caused to injured parties.

Source: Daily Freeman, "Rosendale man, 49, critically injured when Kingston-to-NYC Trailways bus is struck by flying tire in N.J." Diane Pineiro-Zucker, May. 05, 2014

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