Caught on camera: Tire smashes through window, hits man

HOUSTON – A 77-year-old janitor counts himself lucky to be alive after a truck tire smashed through the window of a medical clinic where he was working and struck him late Tuesday night.

Manuel Mendoza told Local 2 News through an interpreter, "It was sort of like an explosion."

Mendoza and his wife were cleaning the 45 Clinic in the 8200 block of Gulf Freeway at around 10:45 p.m. Mendoza was moving a chair in the waiting room when security video shows the tire smashing through the window, pushing the chair in his hands aside and knocking Mendoza to the floor. He stayed there for several minutes, apparently dazed.

Mendoza was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital by ambulance and treated for cuts and bruises, but he was found to have no major injuries.

The tire, which was still attached to a brake drum, apparently came off a truck traveling inbound on the Gulf Freeway. It rolled across the freeway and feeder road and into the clinic's parking lot where a second security camera shows it smashing into the window.

The clinic's owner, Dr. Joseph Sleiman, just happened to be passing the clinic that night on his way to the airport when he noticed the ambulance in front of his clinic and stopped to investigate.

"The man is very lucky. I'm so glad that he's OK," he said.

Sleiman believes more than luck was involved in Mendoza's survival.

"I believe, probably because Christmas, God was here. This is what I believe because this is a miracle," he said.

Houston police are investigating.