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1 Killed By Detached Tire On Rt. 28

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man was killed but his wife was uninjured in a freak accident Friday morning near the Shaler Highland Compound on Route 28.

Police say a tire detached from a trailer, crossed the median of Route 28 and smashed into an oncoming car.

Allegheny County Police spent the afternoon questioning the suspected driver of the truck that set off the series of events that led to the fatal crash. KDKA's Paul Martino is told the suspect doesn't have a driver's license and may not be a legal citizen.

He is now identified as 23-year-old Eric Gonzales-Huerta. Investigators described Huerta as an illegal alien from Mexico. He will be charged with causing an accident with death and causing an accident without a driver's license or insurance.

Reporters peppered Huerta with questions in both English and Spanish on Friday night, but he didn't respond.

A white pickup truck was hauling the trailer inbound when for some unknown reason, a tire from the double-axle flew across the jersey barrier and slammed into the windshield of a man driving outbound. He was killed instantly. His wife wasn't injured.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identifies the victim as 75-year-old Robert Lofink, of Gibsonia.

Allegheny County dispatch confirmed police then released a "Be On The Lookout" advisory for a white Ford F-450 truck hauling a duel-axle trailer covered with black tarp and carrying a ladder.

The tarp was reportedly covering the license plate, which was believed to be an out-of-state plate.

NewsChopper 2 pilot Dan Sweezen spotted a tire near the train tracks and notified police.

The truck was later tracked down by police and NewsChopper 2 footage shows what does appear to be missing a passenger-side wheel on its trailer.

Police say the three other men who were with Huerta are also not legal citizens.

They also say they believe the men didn't even know the tire flew off until they drove all the way to McKees Rocks to dispose of some roofing material.

They returned to the scene, apparently looking for the lost tire when they learned of the accident and were taken into custody.

In the meantime, Route 28 was shut down for about four hours while police tried to sort out this freakish, deadly accident and clear the scene. The road has since been reopened. But PennDOT said delays were expected in the area for quite sometime.

Allegheny County Police continue to investigate.

Huerta was taken to the Allegheny County Jail while waiting to be arraigned. His three companions haven't been arrested, but their citizenship is under review.

We're told the driver is remorseful, weeping about the deadly accident.

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