CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The man who was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that lost its front tire and seriously injured a 13-year-old girl has been cited for not ensuring the vehicle was safe to drive, according to authorities.
Police said the teen was walking home from school with two of her friends last Tuesday when the tire and its rim dislodged from the oncoming pickup truck.
The tire rolled down the road with momentum and hit the girl head-on while she was crossing Dyer Avenue, causing her to fall backward onto the pavement.
The pickup truck broke down a short distance away.
The 43-year-old driver told officers he had just purchased the truck earlier in the day and was on his way home at the time.
Investigators examining the truck discovered the lug nuts were loose and popped off, causing the tire to detach.
The vehicle hadn’t been driven in some time, according to police, and the rogue tire was recently removed to repair a brake line.
“It is believed the lug nuts may have not been properly tightened when the tire was reinstalled,” investigators explained.
The man was cited for driving with an expired license, driving a vehicle without required equipment or in unsafe condition, operating a vehicle without insurance and improper evidence of registration.
The teen was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital with serious injuries after the incident, including a concussion. Her condition has since improved, according to authorities, and she has since been transferred out of intensive care.