Trailer ramp, metal blamed for numerous flat tires and blowouts on I-75 in Dayton Thursday

DAYTON — Pieces of metal, believed to be from a trailer ramp, caused numerous flat tires and blowouts on a stretch of I-75 in Dayton Thursday evening, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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Numerous reports of flat tires and disabled vehicles were reported first around 6:15 p.m. in the northbound lanes of I-75 near the exit to First Street, an Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson told News Center 7 in an emailed statement Friday.

The initial investigation found a trailer ramp came off a trailer and was in the left lane of I-75 when several cars hit it and other pieces of debris, the spokesperson said. The trailer ramp was later located on the shoulder of the highway after all the vehicles hit it and the other debris.

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The exact number of vehicles involved were not immediately known by state troopers. However video from the scene and witness reports to News Center 7 indicate at least 20 vehicles were along the sides of the highway after the flat tires and blowouts were reported.

One person who saw the aftermath of all the damaged tires was Robert Stidham, store manager of the Grismer tire location on South Patterson Boulevard, who estimated around two dozen cars were along the highway as he drove through the scene.

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“I was getting off of (U.S.) 35 and getting onto I-75 North. And as we were getting on there I probably saw 20 or 30 cars sitting to the side, flashers on. I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but we could kind of see that there was some shavings.”

“When I went through it had just happened because people were just getting out of their cars or putting their flashers on, hitting their brakes. It could be an unsafe situation,” Stidham told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell Friday.

“There were just cars that the shards went through tires, through the sidewall, people had blowouts.”

For Stidham, some of those cars he passed Thursday night ended up at his shop by Friday morning.

“One of the tires was repairable. The other was not repairable, so we ended up having to replace that tire,” he said.

Service technicians have a series of tests and trials when dealing with flat tires to determine if they are repairable or not, Stidham explained. Technicians will start by seeing if the tire is able to hold air, then move on to see if the tire can be patched from the inside.

However, Stidham said debris and metal shavings like what caused the I-75 mess Thursday, can cause tires to be unrepairable. For example, metal could damage the sidewall of a tire or damage the steel chords inside the tire, he said.

Those customers who had to replace tires could have walked out with a rather expensive bill, with single tires going from $100 each to up to $400, pending the type of car and tires required.

“Tires are not cheap anymore. Anything that’s petroleum based is rather expensive. So its a good idea to keep tires rotated, to keep things wearing evenly to keep the tires lasting as long as possible,” Stidham said.

Additional details about the investigation that caused the blown tires were not available. We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more.