Driver in dramatic near miss speaks

August 7, 2009 1:08:56 PM PDT
We're learning a bit more about what happened after a tire came screeching by a local law enforcement officer on the Fred Hartman Bridge. [SEE THE VIDEO: Dashcam video captured the close call]

We first brought you the story on Wednesday on Eyewitness News. Now, we're hearing from the driver who that officer pulled over to help.

While on the way to work, the Goodyear on 21-year-old Daniel Barnett's Silverado went flat on the Fred Hardman bridge in Baytown, but little did he know life was about to let the air out of his day in more ways than one.

"I realized it was flat so I got in my vehicle and called OnStar because of the traffic and they were throwing debris on me," he said.

A deputy constable from Harris County Precinct 8 arrived to shield Barnett from traffic; debris, however, not so much.

Just as Barnett loaded the flat tire in his truck, a 200-pound wheel broke loose from an 18-wheeler's axle and flew by at 60 miles per hour.

Barnett saw the tire coming, but couldn't get the words out.

"The tire is flying by and I tried to signal for him to move," said Barnett. "And I couldn't get out anything, but when I did, he barely moved and it nicked him."

He says it all happened so fast that once the big rig wheel flew by, both of them just stood there wide-eyed.

"We were both shaken and breathing so hard, that we couldn't catch our breath or collect our thoughts," said Barnett.

Life had one more jab to throw at him before the sunset and the punch landed when he arrived at work after changing that flat tire.

"I walked in the door and they said, 'Your job has been removed'," said Barnett. "I'm just like, I'm in shock. This is the worst day ever."

When Barnett got home, he didn't think about the flat tire or getting laid off. He says he's just glad he and the deputy constable weren't injured.

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