We were north bound on Illinois route 111. We being my boys and me. Angela took her car and was well ahead of us thanks to slow drivers in Chesterfield. As we approched an intersection with Horseshoe Lake Road, the light turned yellow. I applied the brakes.
The car pitched, then a loud boom, then shuttered to a stop like a hyperactive mechanical bull on crack. Jack, 17 years-0ld, looked at me with eyes like a 5 year-old. The car stopped two feet into the intersection leaning down and to the right.
“Dad, what was that?”
“Something not good,” I answered.
I got out of the car and walked around to the passenger’s side. “Blow out,” I muttered.
I got back into the car, turned on my hazard lights, and waited for the light to turn green. I would continue through the intersection and park on the shoulder.
When the light turned, I accelerated, but the car didn’t roll so much a hop. I kept my speed low, under 5, and pulled on the shoulder. When I took my foot off the gas, the car bounced to stop without my applying the brake.
“That’s more than a blow out,” I thought.
The alloy rim was blown in. When the tow truck driver removed the damaged tire, we saw the damaged brake assembly. The mechanic looked around the assembly. “Did you have these brakes worked on recently?”
“Yeah,” I said. “About a month ago.”
“Did you do it yourself?”
“No. I took it to the shop I always take it to.”
The mechanic paused, kicking at the gravel on the shoulder.
“They forgot to put in one of the bolts that holds your brakes on,” he said. He continued, “You could have been killed.”