Investigators believe a tire failure caused the horrible I-40 bus accident that killed 8 people on Wednesday, October 2.

The crash, in which a church bus drove across the median into oncoming interstate traffic and struck an SUV and tractor-trailer, killed both the driver and his wife along with 6 other victims.

And while it might have appeared the crash was caused by the driver losing control of the vehicle, investigators say it’s not quite so simple. Apparently the tire itself failed, which threw the bus sideways.

“It’s extremely, extremely difficult to maintain control of that bus after the (wheel) rim hit and was pulling it in that direction,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Miller.

When a tire fails, it essentially blows out and causes the rim of the wheel to hit the road. That would make any vehicle spin the wrong way, but is especially dangerous for a large bus traveling at high speeds.

The driver and his wife both had commercial driver’s licenses and decades of experience. Their skill was not the problem.

Now the question becomes whether the tire failure happened because of a maintenance issue or manufacturing flaw. Either way, the defect had catastrophic and incredibly tragic consequences.

Our hearts go out to the many people affected by this terrible accident.

(Photo: Jay Simmons)