There are many ways a Jeep, or any off-road rig for that matter, can get destroyed. A rogue heavy truck tire on the highway isn’t something that most would think of off the top of their head. Unfortunately for John Rice and his Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited, it became a very real situation.
The initial video of the incident circulated around social media quickly. In the video, the lonely tire is seen traveling down the highway very quickly. The people filming stayed out of the path of the tire but relatively close to it. The first version I saw had a clip of Lynard Skynard’s Sweet Home Alabama set to it…”Big wheels keep on turnin’…” As amusing as it was at first, the video ends just after the massive wheel and tire combination veers left, rides on top of the center divider and then smashes into a vehicle. The amusement was gone.
In the video, it is tough to see what sort of vehicle the tire smashes into. NJ.com broke the story wide open. The tire was rolling down Route 440 in Edison, New Jersey, and John Rice and his family were right in its path. John, an off-duty Piscataway, New Jersey Police Officer, was following behind his wife who was driving with their children. The rogue tire nicked her car and was sent hurtling at John’s Jeep.
“When I first saw the tire, all that was going through my mind was ‘Please don’t hit my wife,’” the John explained to the New Jersey news outlet. “That would not have been a good outcome.” The tire glanced off the passenger side of the rear bumper of her car. John was unable to avoid the collision with the tire. The tire hit the passenger front corner of his Jeep. John said the whole thing “basically exploded.”
“My wife looked at the car and thought I was dead,” Rice said, noting he just had some soreness from the impact and the airbags going off, but no major injuries. “I’m definitely lucky.”
State Police are investigating where the tire came from. Thankfully, John Rice reports that he is a little banged up but has no major injuries. Photos of the Jeep provided by Rice.