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Tire blow-outs are common complaint near scene of fiery I-25 crash

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Posted at 10:59 PM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 17:23:23-04

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Transportation confirmed Thursday that a blown-out tire caused the tanker fire on I-25 Wednesday, stalling traffic and sending a plume of dark smoke into the air that could be seen from miles away.

Since then, several people have reached out to Denver7 saying they've had tire blow-outs in that same stretch too, between Orchard Road and Arapahoe Road, so we decided to ask questions.

We requested the number of incidents that the CDOT Motorist Safety Program responded to in last two months.

Officials were able to provide stats dating back to January of this year, which show that most of the calls have been mechanical, including calls for flat tires or cars needing a jump start. There was no mention of tire blow-outs, but there was a category labeled "miscellaneous" that had several hundred calls listed on it. Denver7 is waiting for answers on what those calls included. 

The fiery accident snarled traffic for hours after the tank truck exploded in flames. Several people ran to help the driver of that truck escape.

Susan Traeger saw it on the news and it struck a nerve that ran deep because just four hours before the crash, she said she drove through that same stretch of I-25 in the opposite direction.

"I hear this pop and my lights came on automatically. So I pulled off the road."

Two of her tires were slashed by something. She believes it was the road.

"The pavement is elevated and I was merging over," said Traeger. "You know, I thought it was the road but I didn't think that something like this would happen this catastrophic.”

CDOT officials said they clean up the road constantly, especially because of the major construction project at the Arapahoe exit.

Denver7 looked into the truck company's inspection records and found 181 violations, mostly maintenance issues like windshield wipers or low tire pressure. Mike Euglow, with Commercial Vehicle Training Center, said that number is a red flag.

"Either the driver's getting in the vehicle and taking off, not inspecting (it) or he's inspecting (it) and management is not getting the vehicle fixed. There's a lot of scenarios that weigh in an unsafe vehicle."

For Traeger, she's convinced something caused her tires to blow. CDOT has had to make emergency pothole repairs on I-25 before and Denver7 has heard from witnesses that potholes caused a fatal crash last month, too.

Whatever it is, Traeger believes it should be looked into.

"It should be checked that it is safe and it isn't going to be slicing tires."

RELATED HEADLINES —

Fiery tanker crash on I-25 caused by blown tire

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Massive tanker fire closes I-25, sends 1 to the ER

CDOT: Goal is to have NB I-25 open by morning

GALLERY: See photos from the fire, explosion on I-25

Witnesses help driver after fiery crash on I-25 

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