Okanagan College student Chloe Bishop, 17, has only had her drivers licence for three weeks but has already felt fear behind the wheel.
“I left my house, got into my car and it started to make a thudding noise,” said Bishop.
“I was like, ‘maybe my car just needs to warm up,’ because I don’t know a lot about cars. So I kept driving and I got to about Sun City Cherries and my car was feeling very uncontrollable.”
When Bishop came to a stop at a roundabout on Lakeshore Road in Kelowna’s Mission area, she found out what was making the thudding noise.
“I was kind of bouncing around and I came to a stop and my tire fell off, and my car dropped,” Bishop told Global News on Saturday.
Fortunately, Bishop was near a stand still when the tire came off and no one was hurt.
Back in May, police in the Okanagan warned residents of lug nuts being loosened after receiving several reports of out-of-province vehicles being tampered with. Bishop did have B.C. plates on her Ford Focus.
“It’s not common that we get reports of vehicles with loosened lug nuts or vehicles that have lost a wheel as a result of lug nuts falling off,” said Corpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, a Kelowna RCMP officer.
Noseworthy said some cases of lost wheels have been tracked back to tire changes and lug nuts not being tightened properly afterwards.
That is not the case here, as Bishop said she had her winter tire appointment booked for next week.
Kelowna RCMP have said it is a very difficult crime to prove.
“In terms of being able to prove it was an act of mischief, it’s certainly a lot harder. The unfortunate reality in a situation like this, (the wheel falls off) days or weeks after the potential loosening has happened,” said Noseworthy.
Bishop says the experience was one that she won’t forget any time soon.
“It was fairly traumatic, I’ve never gotten in that kind of situation before as myself in a car alone,” said Bishop.
“And to think that someone did this to me is a bit hard on my mind.”