Thursday, January 10, 2008

It was one of the worst accidents ever on Maryland's Bay Bridge.

Bay Bridge Crash Investigation Concludes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) ― It was one of the worst accidents ever on Maryland's Bay Bridge.

Less than six months ago, three people died in a massive seven car collision on the westbound span of the bridge.

Derek Valcourt reports police have released the complete accident report investigation highlighting exactly what was to blame.

It's a lengthy crash report by Transportation Authority Police, full of details on the horrendous crash. But bottomline investigators say this may have been a pure accident with no one criminally responsible.

Utter chaos erupted on the bridge after a homemade trailer came loose. It caused a chain reaction crash as vehicles behind it swerved to avoid it.

The pileup included two pick-up trucks, one tanker carrying animal fat, a tow truck, a van, one car and an SUV.

There were three fatalities, including volunteer firefighters Randall Orff and his 19-year-old son Jonathon who were inside the red Ford pick-up truck.

Their deaths are symbols of pain to much of Queen Anne's County.

Now the newly released crash report finds the fault lies solely with the driver of the SUV, which was pulling the homemade trailer.

According to the report, there was no safety hitch pin used. That would have prevented the trailer from coming loose.

Also, the safety chains meant to help in case the trailer did come loose were too long, according to the report.

Despite the faulty trailer hitch, the report indicates it was a horrible accident that could not have been predicted.

The Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office says there's nothing they could do, and they confirm that no charges will be filed in this case. That's because they say right now there is no law on the books in Maryland regulating how a trailer should be hooked up to a vehicle.

Trailer, Car, Sign Crash into living room

Trailer, Car, Sign Crash Into Living Room

POSTED: 11:40 am CST November 10, 2006
UPDATED: 1:03 pm CST November 10, 2006

A toddler escaped injury when a trailer, car and street sign crashed into the living room she was in, KPRC Local 2 reported.Houston police said the crash happened when a trailer came unhooked from a truck on Blankenship Drive near Bingle Road at about 8 a.m."The trailer became detached from the truck as it was traveling, hopped a curb and then ended up in the ladies' living room," Officer Glen Dickerson said.

The trailer pushed the family's car and a street sign into the living room, narrowly missing a little girl in a crib."She was just sitting there like she was in shock," mother Nova Hicks said.No one inside the home was injured.The home sustained significant damage and the family's car was destroyed.The family said accidents are a regular sight at their intersection."There's a wreck every week here," grandmother Theressa Mikelait said. "Not in this house, but on this corner."Police said the truck driver was ticketed for an improperly secured trailer.

Car Hit, Totaled By Loose Landscaping Trailer

Car Hit, Totaled By Loose Landscaping Trailer

ETNA (KDKA) ― In April, a father and two of his triplets were killed when a wood chipper came loose from the back of a truck on oute 8 in Richland Township and slammed into their mini-van.

Spencer Morrison, along with his children Garrett and Alaina, died in the accident.

Four year-old Ethan was the only one to survive the crash.

Investigators said the accident happened because the wood chipper was not properly secured to the truck.

Now, police are investigating a similar accident.

"I saw this thing hit the car," said Lora Johnson. "It was like something from the sky fell, and hit my car."

It wasn't a piece of aircraft that crashed into Johnson's car last Thursday.

It was a trailer that became detached from a landscaping truck in Etna.

For Johnson, it brought back memories of that wood chipper crash that claimed the lives of a man and two of his small children.

"How could this happen again," asked Johnson. "I couldn't believe that this could have happened again in Western Pennsylvania... so close in time to what had happened on Route 8."

Johnson was driving up Grant Avenue Hill and the landscaping truck was coming downhill.

Etna police say the ball on the landscaping truck was loose.

There was no pin in the receiver mechanism.

The trailer's brake lights weren't working properly.

In fact, police say the lights weren't even hooked up.

And, those safety chains between the trailer and truck, well there weren't any chains, just some cables.

The driver of the truck and the owner of the lawn service company now face multiple motor vehicle violations.

"This accident was something that should not have happened at all," said Johnson. "I think personally that these vehicles should be spot checked. We have spot checks for seat belts, for children in car seats. It seems to me this kind of vehicle should be spot checked."

Steve Stakes runs S&G Repair in the North Hills.

He says he could write a book about the problems he's seen involving trailers.

Many of them are because safety pins aren't locked in place correctly.

"This pin comes out - you open it up, you attach your trailer, or wood chipper - close this back down," said Stakes. "This pin has to go in this hole to lock it in place."

Besides those motor vehicle violations, Etna police say they are now considering criminal charges in the case.