A passenger aboard an Island Transit bus is crediting the driver with preventing anyone from getting hurt when a runaway tire struck the bus on North Whidbey Tuesday.
“Dana, our driver, ended up saving our lives because she was able to get control and pull to the side of the road,” Josef Kunzler, a Sedro Woolley resident, said. “We could have flipped over and I didn’t have my seat belt.”
The Island Transit bus was traveling north on Highway 20 when the incident occurred in the area of the Dugualla Bay flats. Driver Dana Gordon was at the wheel.
Shawn Harris, operations manager of the bus service, said a tire that was in the back of an oncoming Dodge pickup suddenly flew out of the back of the truck and struck the bus, sheering off a fender.
Harris said the tire continued on and hit another vehicle.
Kunzler said he heard a loud thud and the bus started shaking, but Gordon was able to get control and pull to the side of the road.
Harris said the video from the bus shows the tire careening toward the bus and suddenly disappear as it hit.
He said it was fortunate that the tire didn’t bounce higher, or it could have gone through the windshield.
“It could have been really disastrous,” he said.
Harris also credited Gordon for taking decisive action.
“She handled it very well,” he added.
The trooper with the Washington State Patrol who responded to the accident couldn’t be reached for additional details.