Alberta family escapes injury after wheel flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.

Click to play video: 'Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.'
Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.
Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C – Jul 27, 2020

A nurse from Alberta and her three children escaped injury this week after a front wheel on her SUV flew off after visiting family in the Okanagan.

Fortunately, says the woman, no one was hurt while they were travelling at highway speeds along the Trans-Canada near Canmore on Thursday.

The woman, from Blackfalds, Alta., and her father, who lives in Summerland, B.C., both think all five lug nuts on the wheel of her Honda Pilot were intentionally loosened sometime during her three-week stay in the Okanagan.

Read more: Peachland residents warned about vehicle wheels being vandalized

Read next: 2 kids killed, man charged with murder after bus crashes into Montreal-area daycare

“I do feel that,” Krista Paulsen told Global News on Saturday, “because (the tow-truck driver) checked the other lug nuts and they were on tight.”

Story continues below advertisement

In May, police in the Okanagan warned Peachland residents of lug nuts being loosened after reports of loose wheels.

Two weeks later, that warning was extended to West Kelowna after more reports of loosened lug nuts.

The two don’t have any proof that the lug nuts were loosened in Summerland, but point to the fact that all five flew off.

Click to play video: 'Burnaby RCMP warn about potentially dangerous prank'
Burnaby RCMP warn about potentially dangerous prank

“It had been several months since she had the tires changed, and there had been no problem with it,” Paulsen’s father, Rick Bigland, said on Saturday.

“She had been in Summerland since July 4th, and the vehicle was mainly parked at my house. We used my vehicle mainly while she was here.

“All five of the lug nuts had come off. I can’t think of any reason for lug nuts to come off a tire just by themselves, especially all five of them.”

Story continues below advertisement

Global News has reached out to Summerland RCMP regarding the incident.

Click to play video: 'Langley family’s vehicle hit by flying tire on B.C. highway'
Langley family’s vehicle hit by flying tire on B.C. highway

Paulsen said during her drive home on Thursday, she noticed a rumble in the moments leading up to the wheel falling off.

“We noticed it a little bit before (it fell off),” said Paulsen. “I was like, ‘Am I losing air? Am I driving on a bit of a flat (tire)?’

“We were going to stop in Canmore and fill it up and just check it out. Then it seemed to get louder, then quieter. Then it got really loud.”

Paulsen said her kids told her they could feel a rumble in the back seat.

And then Paulsen said she felt “a big old clunk and I don’t quite recall how everything happened, but I was looking out my window, and there goes my tire rolling up the highway as I was moving over to the side of the highway.”

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Peachland warning of loose wheel nuts extended to West Kelowna

Read next: Netflix Canada begins its password-sharing crackdown. Here’s what to know

Paulsen said, “now that I think about it — oh my God, we were so lucky.”

She doesn’t know how she switched from the far left lane to the shoulder without crashing, and how her wheel didn’t hit another vehicle.

“If that had happened outside Golden, when I was coming home, where it’s all cliff, I don’t know where I would have gone or what I would have done,” said Paulsen, “because there would have been nowhere to go.

“Either we would have gotten rear-ended … I don’t know how we’re 100 per cent OK.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. driver shares story of incredible Sicamous dashcam video'
B.C. driver shares story of incredible Sicamous dashcam video

Paulsen said that it had been some time since her wheels had been taken off, and that her Honda had been mechanically inspected a month before leaving for B.C.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t see how they would have missed them being loose enough that they could just fall off, and it was all five of them,” said Paulsen.

“Not just one going loose, but all five.”

Paulsen mentioned that a motorist from Newfoundland who recently moved to Canmore pulled over and accompanied her and her children for three hours until things were sorted out.

Click to play video: 'Why keeping your car clean in mucky conditions can prolong its lifespan'
Why keeping your car clean in mucky conditions can prolong its lifespan

The father and daughter also wonder if the Honda was targeted because it has Alberta plates

Global Okanagan has received many emails and calls from area residents furious over seeing out-of-province plates in the region, be it from Alberta or America, and visitors from other parts of British Columbia. The anger stems from novel coronavirus concerns and the possible spread of COVID-19.

Story continues below advertisement

The two hope that licence plate anger isn’t the case and that it was just a random incident.

“This has definitely taught me a few things,” said Paulsen, who said she will be frequently checking her wheels now and still plans on travelling to B.C. to visit mom and dad.

“I’m kind of a chill, easy-going person. One person being really, really rude isn’t going to change anything for me.”

Click to play video: 'Video captures nasty dump truck crash on QEW in Burlington: OPP'
Video captures nasty dump truck crash on QEW in Burlington: OPP

“I’m extremely glad that her and my grandchildren are safe as a result of this,” said Bigland. “Congrats to my daughter for managing to control the vehicle in a circumstance like that and get it off to the side of the road safely.

“It seems really senseless to put not just my daughter and my grandkids (in danger), but also the travelling public. There could have been all kinds of people injured in this.

Story continues below advertisement

Sponsored content