Runners struck by tractor-trailer tire on Rickenbacker Causeway

Woman, fiancé taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center

MIAMI – A woman and her fiancé were injured Monday morning when they were struck by a tractor-trailer tire while running on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said the tractor-trailer was traveling west on the causeway when it lost two tires. 

Carroll said one tire bounced into a parking lot off the westbound lane and the other bounced into the eastbound lane, striking the runners.

Fernando Munoz never left his fiancé's side. He performed CPR on Stephanie Hilzinger and then kissed her on the cheek as she was rushed into Jackson Memorial Hospital after being hit by the 200-pound tire.

"They are saying she was hit by a wheel -- a truck wheel. Is that right?" the dispatcher can be heard saying in the 911 call.

Hilzinger was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where she was listed in serious condition. Munoz, who is a doctor, was also taken to the hospital in stable condition.

"He was trying to do the CPR. That's why she's alive," the victim's friend, Ginger Noriega, told Local 10 News. "That's the only thing that I know."

Friends described the couple as avid runners who always enjoyed working out together.

"She's always doing exercise," Noriega said. "She's healthy and was always going to where her boyfriend (was) to walk anywhere." 

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Angelio Salazr, told Local 10 News that he doesn't know what caused the tires to fall off.

"I feel awful I hurt someone," he said.

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.