Worn tires may have led to roll-over accident

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - Authorities say it's a miracle several children, who were ejected after their SUV flipped over Tuesday morning on the Turnpike, were not critically injured in the accident.

It happened around 8:30 a.m. on the Turnpike Southbound lanes about a mile south of Port St. Lucie Boulevard.

Thirty-nine-year-old Floyd Pitter of Port Saint Lucie was behind the wheel of his 1997 Ford Explorer. His 5 children were all passengers, all under the age of 13.

All of the sudden, the right rear passenger side tire blew out causing the driver to lose control. The Explorer flipped multiple times.

Three unrestrained kids were ejected. All were rushed to local hospitals and despite the impact, non have life-threatening injuries.

Florida Highway Patrol says the tires on the SUV were mismatched. The one that failed was a different brand from the others. The front left tire was severely worn out and needed replacement.

FHP spokesman Sgt. Jorge Delahoz says the number one cause of accidents on the Turnpike are worn out tires or under-inflated tires.

At Angel's Auto Care in Riviera Beach the shop's owner suggests drivers at least take a glimpse at their tires daily, especially before a long drive.

Under inflation and worn out treads are a sure sign your tires are in trouble.

Most tires have tread wear indicator bars. These bars of hard rubber are normally invisible, but appear across treads that have been worn down.

"If you feel a vibration at high speed or it has a certain wobble, you should take it immediately to a service shop and have it inspected," Angel Borges, president of Angel's Auto Care.

Another problem according to FHP is that people are now buying used tires because of the economy. It's unclear if that was the case in this accident.

Charges are pending.