How does this happen?

Driver killed after debris flies through windshield on I-840 (

This is certainly a tragedy, and not something to discuss light-heartedly. But for the life of me I can’t understand how a transmission can “fall out” of a car and wreak havoc on several other vehicles. If it had been a pickup with a 12" lift kit I may be able to understand it a little easier, but a Mustang is low to the ground. I suspect the news report is not mechanically accurate.

BTW, in my opinion, the owner/driver of the Mustang should face any and all criminal charges involved.

Would you like to face jail time for a wheel that came off of your car and injured or killed someone? It’s something that could have killed you just as easily.

The transmission case probably broke apart due to too much horsepower and poor or defective design.

I suspect the news writer has no clue what these parts are. I’m guessing the driveshaft fell out of the car. A compete transmission is too heavy to bounce through a windshield.

The report that the Mustang driver is facing charges is confusing without further information. Just what charges would a driver face? This appears on the surface as tragic accident caused by equipment failure. Not sure how that becomes criminal.


Very likely, but–all the same–it appears that death and destruction can be tied to that Mustang.

Slightly related, back in the early '80s, during the winter, a couple of NJ kids decided that it would be really funny if they dropped a frozen bundle of newspapers from an overpass above I-280. The frozen mass went through the windshield of a car carrying two elderly people, and the resulting crash caused both of them to die. Because of the age of the perpetrators, they couldn’t be given the same type of penalty as an older offender, but they were sent to a youth reformatory for a few years.

It wasn’t too long after that event that high fences were erected along Interstate overpasses in order to prevent similar deadly pranks.

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Of course not. I also don’t like handing over my hard-earned money to the IRS. But it’s what I have to do as a responsible citizen. If a failure on my car injures or kills someone, I am responsible and my insurance company and lawyer will come to my defense.

What I do to myself with my car is my business. But what I do to someone else with my car is a whole lot of other people’s business.

Yeah, that’s my thought too. But then can an aluminum driveshaft cause that much major damage to 3 cars?

I put very little stock in general news reports any more. These are the same folks that call a shotgun a rifle. Who knows what parts came off the car and why. Truck tires have been known to come off and bounce through windshields killing people. Still you have to show negligence on the part of the driver. The fact that three other cars were also sprayed suggests they were following too close and clustered. Was the driver a mechanic that would be able to determine unsafe parts, whatever they were? Tragic incident but a silly news report.


Can’t speak to this particular case, but when something falls out or from of a moving car it maintains its kinetic energy, so what with bouncing and rolling, a lot of possibilities for what could happen. I think I recall an incident discussed here where a car’s passenger, thrown from the rolling car, ended up at the top of a telephone pole or caught in telephone pole wires far above the ground.

As a former fire fighter I was frequently amused / frustrated by the news reports on one of our incidents. The reporters did not let facts get in the way to be the first to get a story published.

If the police said charges were pending and the DA is involved so quickly there is a whole lot more to the story, a heck of a whole lot. Criminal charges are rarely filed for a mechanical failure.

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Maybe the transmission exploded. If the Mustang driver had been hooning, that might have caused the transmission to blow up. Reckless driving might be the charge if that is true. Just a possibility.

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To me that seems to be the biggest problem with the news media today especially TV reporters.


I could see the transmission grenading after falling out so the large shrapnel could definitely keep going. I’m a bit undecided on whether the Mustang owner should face charges without knowing the story behind that transmission.

One has to wonder if it had just been swapped out with a used/rebuilt and whodunnit. If the owner was the one behind the trans R & R then I agree he should be charged. If a shop was behind this then they should also be charged. It’s unlikely it would happen though. One has to wonder surely there were some symptoms before the trans fell out.

Several decades ago I came over a hill on a narrow county highway and saw a transmission in the middle of the road; barely missing it. I pulled over and found no damage (Muncie 4 speed go figure) so into the trunk it went. Checked it later and found no issues so up for sale it went and it sold quick. Only thing I can figure is that it fell out of the back of a pickup or flatbed.