Broken axle sends wheel into oncoming traffic on Howard Frankland

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Chaos unfolded during rush hour Friday morning at the Pinellas County end of the Howard Frankland Bridge.

The axle on a pickup truck snapped, sending a wheel flying across the median into oncoming traffic, hitting three cars.

One of the victims said, despite being in the worst place at the worst time, they feel lucky to be alive to tell their tale.

Leonard Jones has little marks all over his arm where shards of glass cut his skin.

"I saw her scream. I am looking up and this glass is coming in so I raised my hand up,” Jones told FOX 13 News.

He and his wife, Jill, who was driving, were in their Dodge Ram on their way to work in Tampa. Just after 6 a.m., a tire and wheel assembly snapped off a 1999 F150 traveling in the other direction. It jumped the divider into oncoming traffic, which included the Joneses.

"You are just doing your job, just driving down the road, and all of a sudden somebody runs into you, without expecting it. It all happens real fast," Jones said.

After hitting the Joneses’ pickup, it bounced into the windshield of an SUV and then hit a third vehicle on its rear passenger side.

The wheel finally landed on the side of the road and then caught fire.

Traffic was backed up for hours. Jill Jones got the worst of it. She shared a pictured she took from her hospital bed.

"She still has pain, she is still having a problem with the right eye. She can't see out of it," Leonard Jones said.

Troopers say it was all just an accident and that no one will be ticketed.

Jones says it's a reminder to make sure your vehicle is in safe, working condition. When he and his wife of 30 years set out this morning, he decided to lay his seat back just a little. If not, he believes the sunroof would have crashed on his head.

They were going to stop for McDonald's this morning but changed their minds. If they had stopped, they would have been five minutes behind, and safe from the tire. Jones hopes his wife will be released from the hospital Friday evening.