NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In every driver’s first nightmare, a tire came flying out of nowhere Friday afternoon and smashed into the driver of an oncoming car on the Grand Central Parkway.
There was nothing the driver could do.
At about 2 p.m., the tire flew off the vehicle in a westbound lane of the GCP near the Cross Island Parkway in Queens.
The tire hopped blew over the guardrails and hopped the median, and smashed into a vehicle in the eastbound lane, Joe Biermann reported from Chopper 2.
There were two people injured, one critically.
A 63-year-old male passenger in the damaged SUV was hit in the head by the flying tire, he was taken to North Shore University Hospital. The 62-year-old driver suffered an injured shoulder.
The accident left drivers at a nearby service area stunned.
“That’s insane. That’s like the worst nightmare I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s like something from the movies. It’s crazy,” Guy Benshetrit said.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, thousands of drivers wound up stuck in traffic because of the freak at the height of the afternoon rush.
The accident caused a ripple effect not only on the Grand Central Parkway, but also the Clear View and the Cross Island here where they all come together.
The fact that it was a busy Friday evening rush hour meant a lot of frustrated motorists.
“Horrible, horrible,” said Bob Franca of Brooklyn. “I went from one traffic jam to another from the BQE to the LIE to the Grand Central — just every place I went.”
“I’m coming from my shop on 178. Over here, it’s bumper-to-bumper. And it’s just going to keep getting worse,” said John Comodore of Ronkonkoma,
“I come from the Bronx. It’s two hours so far, I don’t know how much more I have to endure this traffic,” said Cecelia Proetorious of Bethpage. “I may just get out at an exit and have dinner.”
There was also a second smaller fender bender in the eastbound lanes of the GCP about an hour after the first crash that caused even more delays. The vehicles involved in that accident had been moved by 5 p.m.