We were taking care of the rest of the dogs last Thursday, which included driving the 3 puppies into Schaumburg to drop them off with my friend who could get them into a shelter in downtown Chicago, but she couldn't handle doing an 8 hour round trip out to the house in the country to get them so I offered to meet her in the suburbs with them.
Our way back, on I-90, I felt the car start shaking but thought it was probably just the pavement, as I've experienced cars handling differently on different pavements, so I switched to the right lane to see if that side of the pavement was any different. Just after doing so, I noticed in the mirrors something black go flying off the cars! I felt the car kind of slant a bit too so I eased on the brake, hit the hazard light flashers and slowed onto the shoulder, coming to a halt.
I looked back and saw the tire in the grass between the 2 sides of the highway! I quickly assessed where we were on the highway and called my dad.
He said to use my GPS to look up what town we were near and to text him back with it as he'd be calling the insurance company while he drove out to us. I also called the highway emergency number and told them of our situation - they sent out a patrol to check on us and a highway police car stopped by too. One of the highway vehicles also collected our tire (which turned out to be the entire wheel!) and dropped it off in the grass next to our vehicle. Traffic was so thick too I was too scared to open my door.
We got home an hour later than we were planning, despite being only 20 minutes away from our city.
Turns out the lugnuts were twisted too tight and broke off - my dad had the vehicle maintenanced about a month ago and believes that's probably when it happened. The police officer that stopped to check on us said the other front tire didn't look good either - my dad said that had it been that wheel that broke off instead, I probably would have flipped the Jeep!
To be honest, until I saw this picture the next day, I had NO IDEA it was this bad, nor was it the entire wheel that came off and that I had driven it onto the shoulder like that! Talk about craziness! Our families really believe we (me and hubby's sister) had an angel watching over us, holding the car steady when this happened - I shouldn't have been able to slow down and make it to the shoulder as easily as I did. And the fact that the wheel didn't cause an accident when it flew off either, as traffic was pretty heavy!