On Friday, January 10th, a tire blowout resulted in the death of a 19-year-old man and serious injuries to two other teenage passengers. The group was headed east along I-4 near Plant City just around 4am when a tire suddenly blew on their Ford Explorer SUV. The sudden blowout sent the SUV into a skid, causing it to roll over several times along the interstate.
The driver, Marcus Anthony Grubb, age 19, of St. Petersburg, lost control of the SUV when the blowout occurred. The truck veered hard onto the median and then overturned several times before coming to a rest on its right side near the westbound lanes, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP Troopers explained that as the car approached Exit 22, near N Park Road, the right rear tire exploded. Miguel Javier Figueroa Marzan of Longwood, Fla., was a passenger in the Ford SUV as it headed east on I-4, as was Kezra C. Johnson, age 18, of Pinellas Park. Both passengers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident and were ejected from the vehicle, according to FHP troopers.
The driver and both passengers were rushed to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with serious, life-threatening injuries. Figueroa Marzan passed away later that day, just after 12pm, police said. Grubb and Johnson remained hospitalized.
It was not made clear what caused this blowout to occur. Statistically, most blowouts occur due to underinflated tires. Excessive stress on the tire sidewall can cause premature heating and rupture. In other cases, blowouts result from driving on excessively worn tires – such as cases in which the steel threads begin showing. Both examples are avoidable through basic vehicle maintenance.