The only Linus reference I know of is Linus Schlumpberger (sp?) who runs the Operations at UPS.
Yes, an entire wheel can be lost. It is the driver's responsibility to check lug nuts and look behind the wheels to be sure everything looks good. I was on I-15 in Utah a few years ago and saw two tires, still attached to each other in the median. About half a mile further, there was a truck sitting with a bare axle end. Also, some very few drivers carry their spare tire pre-mounted on a wheel. This may have been the case and the driver lost it off his catwalk.