NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Over the weekend, a loose tire hit a moving car on Interstate 95 in Westport and caused a serious crash. Fire crews had to use the jaws of life to rescue a victim trapped inside their Toyota, due to the roadway debris that had fallen off another vehicle.

“With that amount of damage it would have to be moving really quickly in the opposite direction,” said Eric Jackson Ph.D., executive director of the Connecticut Transportation Institute.

Jackson works with a team who studies accidents and tracks the statistics at the Connecticut Transportation Institute. He says road debris is unexpected and causes a fair share of accidents.

“A little over 4000 crashes in the last seven years where debris in the roadway has been designated as one of the contributing factors of the crash,” Jackson said.

He says the reason debris is so tricky to navigate, is it comes in all forms from shredded tires to a board with a nail in it. Each piece of debris presents its own challenges.

“A tree limb that fell over, it could be a couch that fell off the back of somebody’s car, there is a lot of different things that can fall into that debris category,” Jackson said.

Turnpike Motors Autobody in Newington, is working on several vehicles struck by debris, and they say it can take several months to get the parts to fix the vehicle.

“We see it all the time, windshields getting shattered debris goes through the car, it can cause lots of damage,” said Mike Brough, an employee at Turnpike Motors Auto Body.

Car damage from roadway debris can be extremely costly and adds up quickly when it hits ceiling panels or a roof, as those parts are difficult to replace and not meant to be struck.

“We see total loss vehicles because when you hit a roof, those panels are not meant to be hit so it gets very expensive, quickly. And those types of parts are hard to get as well,” Brough said.
And if a person is driving distracted, they will have less reaction time.

Turnpike Motors Autobody recommends finding an auto body shop before a crash so you have a plan when an accident happens.