Ottawa driver killed by runaway wheel assembly

OTTAWA, ON – One man is dead after a dual wheel assembly came off a tractor-trailer and struck his delivery van on Ottawa’s Queensway near Carling Avenue, just before 6 am Friday.

Police pronounced him dead at the scene.

The wheel assembly came off the left side of the westbound trailer, crossed the median, and struck the van in the eastbound lanes of Highway 417, OPP Constable Guy Prevost told Today’s Trucking. A numbered Ottawa company has been charged with permitting the operation of an unsafe commercial vehicle, while the driver of the tractor-trailer has been charged with operating a commercial vehicle with detached parts.

Two other vehicles were involved in a separate minor collision only moments later.

The highway was closed for the investigation from 6 am to 12:30 pm, and is now reopened.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation enforcement teams have left zero tolerance for any defects involving wheels, rims, hubs and fasteners, after two other motorists were killed by runaway wheel assemblies. Paul Koenderman was killed on the Toronto-area Highway 400 in January 2016, barely two months after a wheel crashed into Kimberly Coordes’ windshield on Highway 401, outside London.

Ontario penalties for wheel losses range from $2,000 to $50,000, and are the steepest penalties of their kind in North America. The typical fines run closer to $2,000.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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