By Peter D'Oench


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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A woman hit by a flying tire while running on Key Biscayne remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition.

Stephanie Hilzinger is now in the intensive care unit. Her boyfriend, Fernando Munoz, says she is making progress.

He got choked up when he spoke to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench about the sight of her lying on the ground after the accident.

A tractor-trailer was heading west on the Rickenbacker Causeway when, for reasons unknown at this point, it lost two of its tires that each weigh more than 200 pounds.

One bounced into a parking lot. The other hit Hilzinger and Munoz who were running along the causeway.

“She was always exercising and doing that with her boyfriend,” said family friend Ginger Noriega.

 

Truck lost two tires. (Source: Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll)

Truck lost two tires. (Source: Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll)

Munoz used all of his training in CPR to revive her, while another runner stopped to help and called 911.

Miami Fire Rescue paramedics rushed her to the Ryder Trauma Center with Munoz at her side.

“I heard he did CPR and that’s why she is alive,” Noriega said.

Noriega is astonished by what Munoz did to help Hilzinger, his girlfriend of more than four years and a financial planning and reporting manager at HBO Latin America.

“Super worried. That’s why I came to visit her now. I’m super worried because I don’t know anything,” Noriega said.

Munoz was also injured when he was struck by the tire. He’s at the hospital with Hilzinger whose family is flying in from Ecuador. He’s not sure how long she’ll be in ICU.

“This is one of those unseen incidents that took place here obviously. It looks like a freak accident. We’re just hoping that the runner pulls through,” said Capt. Ignatius Carroll with City of Miami Fire Rescue. “It is a miracle that no one else was struck by these tires.”

The driver of the truck can’t believe what happened.

“I feel terrible,” said Argelio Salazar, the driver and owner of the truck, who says he had no idea he had lost two tires.

Another runner was surprised to hear of the accident.

“That’s horrendous. I come here several times a week. It’s always crowded here. That a wheel came off a truck, that is exceptional… quite amazing,” said runner Barbara Staals.

Miami police are investigating. No word on whether any citations will be issued.

Peter D'Oench

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