The Toronto Star
July, 1997

Man Hit by Flying Truck Wheel

Pedestrian was 'minding his own business'

A 35 year old Oakville man is fighting for his life after being hit yesterday by a runaway truck wheel.

Michael McCron suffered serious injuries when he was struck in the side of his chest by a wheel that flew off a milk truck on Speers Rd. at about 8:50 am.

McCron, who was born with Down syndrome, was rushed by ambulance to Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove his spleen.  He was stabilized and transferred to Hamilton General Hospital, accompanied by a team of doctors.

McCron suffered numerous injuries, including broken ribs, a fractured collar bone and jaw, plus liver and kidney damage in the horrifying accident, witnessed by several of his co-workers at Speers Place Industries.

His parents rushed to his side at hospital.  He was in serious condition in intensive care last night, a hospital spokesperson said.

McCron, who has worked for Speers Place Industries since 1984, has just about reached his workplace when the wheel flew off an eastbound milk truck operated by Natrel Ont. Inc. of North York.

"He didn't have a chance," Halton Region police Sergeant Frank Phillips said.  "He was minding his own business, just walking along the street when suddenly this wheel just flew into him."

"The right front wheel came off, mounted the south curb, crossed the grassy boulevard and then went airborne and struck him in the chest."

Transportation ministry investigators and Halton police are investigating the accident - the first airborne wheel incident to cause an injury since the "absolute liability" law for wheel separations came into effect July 3.

Police have six months to lay the charge, which carries an automatic conviction and a $50,000 fine.  There is no defence, but the amount of the fine can be appealed.

The truck was seized and will undergo a complete mechanical inspection.

Andy Rotsma, executive director for Speers Place Industries, said the accident "was very upsetting" to those who saw it.

"One of the persons was so upset she was sent home... the others are also too upset to talk about it," Rotsma said.  "He was walking alone about 10 feet in front of several other of our employees."

Rotsma said the company employs about 50 physically and mentally challenged people for Community Living Oakville.

"Michael is a very good worker and he's very independent," he said.

McCron lives with two fellow employees.

The accident was the most serious incident involving a flying truck wheel since two Mississauga women, Robina Campbell, 58, and her daughter, Mary Louise Jessiman, 40, were killed last Dec 28 when a wheel flew off a fully loaded lumber truck bounced over a guardrail and smashed into their car as they travelled east on Highway 401 in Oshawa.  They were on their way to celebrate New Year's Eve with two of Campbell's daughters in Montreal.

In 1995, Angela Worona, 31, of Whitby and Jamie Tyrrell, 31, of Mississauga, were killed by runaway truck wheels on Highway 401 and the Queen Elizabeth Way respectively.

There have been more than 50 such incidents in the Greater Toronto Area this year, with a few minor injuries.  Last year, 19 people were injured and 24 vehicles were damaged.

by Bob Mitchell