OKLAHOMA CITY – Authorities say a series of wrecks along a busy interstate were caused when a wheel assembly came off a semi-truck earlier this week.
Just before 5 a.m. on Monday, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers learned of multiple crashes along I-40, between Portland Ave. and MacArthur Blvd., in Oklahoma City.
When troopers arrived on scene, they found a pickup truck on the inside shoulder of the eastbound lanes of I-40, just east of Meridian Ave. Inside the truck, they discovered the body of a woman.
Investigators say the truck appeared to have suffered significant damage to the windshield.
Troopers also saw a white SUV overturned just east of MacArthur Blvd., on the south side of I-40. Just west of MacArthur Blvd., troopers located a BMW with significant damage to the driver’s front end.
Oklahoma City police say that a five-axle semi-truck was headed northbound on MacArthur Blvd. when the top of the trailer was hit by a wheels assembly that appears to have come off a vehicle on I-40.
Investigators believe all of the accidents occurred because of a wheel assembly that came off a semi-truck traveling along I-40.
On Tuesday afternoon, Texas authorities found the truck and the driver near Gainesville.
Officials with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol say troopers located the 2005 Freightliner pulling a gas tanker at a repair facility in Gainesville, Texas.
Authorities say the driver, Shannon Fast, told investigators that he did not realize he had lost the wheel assembly. Instead, he says he discovered it when he stopped to perform his routine check several hours later.
Investigators found that the appropriate inspection was performed on the trailer before it left from a business near I-40 and Council. They say there was no visible evidence that would have caused Fast to have found the gas tank trailer in an unsafe condition.
Now, officials say they are working to determine if the dual wheel assembly was tampered with over the weekend.
OHP encourages anyone with information to contact the Traffic Homicide Unit at (405) 425-2323.