“The trailer of the vehicle suffered a mechanical failure, causing a set of the dual wheels along with the rim to separate from the trailer,” said officer Mike Schroeder, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department. “The separated wheels continued westbound traveling along the shoulder.”
The wheels hit the pedestrian, who was walking east. Police have not identified the victim, pending notification of next of kin.
The westbound lanes of the interstate were shut down for nearly three hours while police investigated. The highway was reopened around 5:45 p.m.
Kimberly Brumlow said she was driving behind the semitrailer truck when she saw a pair of tires come off and strike a man who was walking on the shoulder.
“It just hit him dead on,” Brumlow said. “To see that man fly up in the air, twist and land, it was the most horrifying thing.”
Brumlow said she followed the truck for eight or nine miles before it stopped. She said it was leaning to the side due to the missing tires.
“I don’t think he even realized his wheels had come off,” Brumlow said. “I don’t know if he realized they had struck someone.”
She said she called 911 to report the crash.
“It was horrifying,” she said. “It was just such a freak accident, and he happened to be there.”