Man hit in head by truck debris dies, name released

Posted: Updated:
DPS seeking witnesses
azfamily.com

UPDATE MARCH 6: From the Arizona Department of Public Safety

PHOENIX -- Timothy John Dunavin, 42, of Waddell Ariz. died yesterday evening (March 5, 2009) from the injuries sustained after being struck by flying debris on Monday, March 2, 2009.

Mr. Dunavin was a passenger in a work truck being driven by Ryan Headden, 29, of Phoenix Ariz.

Mr. Headden was not injured in the incident.

DPS Investigators are still seeking information from possible witnesses of this incident or someone who may have any pertinent information.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

PHOENIX - It was terror on the freeway after a chunk of metal flies off the back of a truck and smashes into the window of an innocent driver.

It nearly killed a man and now investigators do not know where the metal came from. Now there is a man in the hospital and a mystery to be solved.

The Department of Public Safety tells 3TV they get calls about debris on a daily basis but this one was nearly deadly and they are looking for witnesses who can describe the truck that lost the metal.

DPS spokesperson Robert Bailey says, "This is more common than we'd like it to be."

Debris in the roadway that falls off of trucks and cars can cause dangerous driving conditions. On Monday it was a hefty piece of metal, about seven inches long, that came flying across the freeway and through the windshield nearly killing the passenger inside, hitting him in the head.

Bailey explains, "A flatbed truck going northbound lost a large piece of metal."

It happened at about 9:30 a.m. on Interstate 17 near 16th street. "That piece of metal bounced onto the roadway, over the median wall into the windshield of a southbound pick-up truck," Bailey says.

The truck belongs to First In, Inc. of Phoenix, a company that specializes in equipment for first responders. 3TV spoke with one employee who declined comment.

Now DPS does not know where the metal piece came from and say it is likely the trucker who lost it might not even realize it or the harm it caused so they are asking that drivers, "Make sure whatever you are moving is secure on the back of your truck or vehicle."

DPS also says you can be cited for loss of load and failure to secure load as well as liable for any damages. Bailey also asks, " Please, if you were in the area of I-17 north or southbound around 9:30 in area of 16th Street call DPS."

Investigators are hoping the driver will notice the object missing and do the right thing and call in.

Again if you were in the area of I-17 between 7th Street and 16th Street and saw any of this, DPS is looking for witnesses.

Also if you ever see debris in the road, DPS encourages you to call 911 so it can be removed before someone gets hurt.

Any witnesses are asked to call 602-223-2212 or e-mail pio@azdps.gov.