PASO ROBLES — The passenger in Jeep Cherokee died after being hit by a runaway tire Thursday, Oct. 29, on Highway 101 north of Paso Robles, reported the California Highway Patrol.

Two unrelated minor injury crashes were reported nearby the fatal accident shortly before 3 p.m. on Oct. 29.

At approximately 2:20 p.m., Dean Levonian, 61, of St. Augustine, Fla., was traveling south on Highway 101 south of South Spring Street at approximately 55 mph in his 2008 Ford F150 truck towing a 2014 Crossroads fifth-wheel trailer.

While traveling in the southbound No. 2 lane, the right rear wheel became dislodged from the trailer’s rear axle for a yet-to-be-determined reason, CHP reported.


The wheel rolled across the southbound lanes of traffic and cleared the median guardrail. As this was happening, Beverly Mays, 81, of San Miguel was driving north on Highway 101 in the No. 2 lane in a 2019 Jeep Cherokee at approximately 60-65 mph accompanied by a right-front passenger.

After clearing the median guardrail barrier, the wheel landed on the top of the Jeep’s passenger side. The wheel’s impact caused major blunt force trauma to the passenger, who succumbed to the injuries within minutes of the crash, CHP reported. The name of the passenger has not been released pending notification of family.

Levonian was unaware the wheel had separated from his trailer and was flagged down by a southbound motorist who witnessed the wheel come free from the trailer, CHP reported. Levonian stopped his truck and trailer southbound on Highway 101 north of Main Street, where officers contacted him.

There were no indications that alcohol, drugs or distracted driving contributed to the collision, CHP reported.