Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pair have lucky escape after A46 smash

Gary Smee

24 January. Updated: 24 January 12:41

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A DRIVER and his passenger had a lucky escape after a trailer came loose and smashed through their car windscreen.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing the twin-axle trailer, which was being pulled by a Land Rover Discovery, weaving back and forth before it reared up and hit a Mercedes travelling in the opposite direction on the A46 bypass near Sedgeberrow on Friday (January 21) at just after 7.15am.
The horrifying incident closed road for almost three hours as firefighters battled to free the passenger in the Mercedes by removing the roof with hydraulic cutters.
The man, believed to have been in his 40s, was immobilised using a spinal board and taken to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch with non life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the car suffered minor injuries and the driver of the Land Rover was unhurt.
Julian Jenkins, watch manager at Evesham Fire Station, said the consequences could have been far more serious.
"I think the men can count themselves very lucky because there were bits of wood sticking into the car which just missed them," he said.
Police are appealing for witnesses.
PC Matthew Pedrick, investigating, said: "We would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision or either of the vehicles in the moments leading up to it.
"This took place on a busy road at the beginning of rush-hour so I anticipate a number of people may have information."
Anyone with information should call police on 0300 333 3000 or Crimestoppers anonymouly on 0800 555 111.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lost furniture leads to crashes on Highway 29

Lost furniture leads to crashes on Highway 29

By Jeff Starck • Wausau Daily Herald • November 5, 2010

ROTHSCHILD -- Police still were searching Thursday for a driver who lost a load of furniture Wednesday on Highway 29, causing two crashes and hours of traffic snarls.

The State Patrol received reports from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department and several motorists at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday that shards of wood and broken glass were strewn across the westbound lanes of Highway 29 near the Business Highway 51 exit in Rothschild.

The driver of a tractor-trailer and a 16-person passenger van each hit mattresses in the roadway, and the two vehicles collided, State Patrol trooper Curt Tomkowiak said Thursday. One of the mattresses became tangled in the tractor-trailer's drive shaft, and the truck had to be towed from the scene, he said.

The driver of a minivan braked abruptly to avoid the stopped tractor-trailer and passenger van in the roadway, and was rear-ended by a pickup, Tomkowiak said.

No one was hurt in the two crashes, police said.

Tomkowiak, who was one of the officers who responded to the scene, said he couldn't identify what other furniture might have fallen on the road because the debris was either obliterated by passing vehicles or had been cleaned up.

Meanwhile, the owner of the mattresses remains unknown. No one who was involved in or witnessed the crash saw the vehicle that lost its load, Tomkowiak said.

Westbound traffic on Highway 29 was stopped or limited to one lane for about two hours Wednesday while the debris and vehicles were cleared away.

Anyone with information about the driver who lost the furniture should call the State Patrol at 715-845-1143.

By Jeff Starck • Wausau Daily Herald • November 5, 2010

Twin box spring causes double trouble for Elkhart County motorist

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Horses Tossed From Trailer Onto Route 7

Thursday November 4, 2010

Horses Tossed From Trailer Onto Route 7

A trailer overturned in Jefferson County and tossed two horses onto State Route 7 near the Pottery Addition entrance ramp, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The vehicle was traveling south when the trailer that was hauling the horses became unhitched, according to OSHP.The owners called a veterinarian Dr. Eric Bruns, who also responded to the scene to treat the animals.Bruns said he sedated the animals and treated them for abrasions.

"I had to clean one of them. He had a tree branch stuck into him, but they're animals, they'll both be all right. I'm pretty sure," said Bruns.

Troopers said the situation could have turned out worse."They were lucky that they landed on the ramp here. There's not a lot of traffic on this ramp, " said Sgt. Jeff Bernard.Troopers said they are trying to determine how the trailer became unhitched.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trailers, negligence: A lethal combination in Chatham County Authorities urge safety in wake of recent wrecks, including fatal crash on I-16 Posted: S

Trailers, negligence: A lethal combination in Chatham County

Authorities urge safety in wake of recent wrecks, including fatal crash on I-16

Posted: September 7, 2010 - 12:19am | Updated: September 7, 2010 - 7:53am

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Giovanna Rosenfeld was traveling west from Savannah on Interstate 16, having just celebrated her birthday with her husband and teenage daughter.

As the three reached the exit for Bloomingdale Road, entering the desolate stretch to Macon, a frightening sequence unfolded before their eyes.

"I was about three cars behind the man on the motorcycle, and I just saw a trailer come across the median at a 45-degree angle," recalled Rosenfeld, 41, an Atlanta resident. "It was going fast. He flew up in the air. I saw his motorcycle go in one direction, and the trailer continue on its original path.

"It was just surreal."

The motorcyclist, 36-year-old Carroll Girtman, was killed by that impact July 11. Gerald Adams, 66, who was hauling the trailer that hurtled into oncoming traffic, was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and operating an unsafe vehicle.

Such circumstances might seem improbable, but the incident, local police say, underscores the need - or obligation - to safely secure trailers and their contents before hitting the highway.

"A lot of people I encounter only care about getting their stuff from point A to point B - if it comes off, it comes off," said Advanced Police Officer Brad Beddow, a Savannah-Chatham police motor vehicle investigator. "If we believe that the load is unsecured, we're going to stop you and cite you."

He added: "We're not going to wait for that load to fall off or cause a wreck before we write you a ticket."

Safety chains urged

Regulations for commercial haulers are stricter than those for regular folks who, for instance, tow yard debris or furniture across town on the weekend.

Yet those private cargos are no less dangerous, Beddow said.

"Most of the things I see are brakes that are disconnected, lights that don't work, tire problems, or (the trailers) aren't tagged," said Beddow, one of two metro officers certified by the Georgia Department of Public Safety to inspect commercial vehicles and issue safety citations. "And it's good practice - if you have safety chains on your trailer, regardless if you're a commercial enterprise or private person, they need to be hooked up and crossed."

Crossing the chains, he said, prevents the trailer tongue from striking the roadway if the trailer becomes unhitched or from swinging wildly if a tire blows.

Tickets issued

As of mid-June, metro police had issued 22 unsecured-load citations, according to department statistics.

In a more recent case, police responded July 26 to Skidaway Road, south of Norwood Avenue, after a small trailer became unhitched from a Chrysler Town & Country van.

The errant trailer struck another van, injuring five occupants. A six-seat golf cart also flew off the trailer and plunged into a roadside ditch.

"It was just flipping in the air," Tyler Samad, a passenger in the Town & Country, said shortly after the wreck. "I was worried about what it was going to hit. I saw cars coming."

The driver, Samad's grandfather John Blitch, said the hitch had just been installed by a company, apparently without due care.

"It looks like the pin came off the trailer hitch," said Blitch, who was cited for hauling an unsecured load.

'Driver's responsibility'

Pooler police Maj. Mark Revenew said anyone with a large load should employ an electric braking system, connected to the hitch by a small steel cable.

"If it becomes unhitched," he said, "it automatically activates the brakes on the trailer."

Beddow said a braking system is required for vehicles with a gross weight between 3,000 and 12,000 pounds. For vehicles topping that maximum, brakes are required on each axle.

Revenew said other issues police encounter include improper maintenance and inadequate safety equipment, like the safety chains.

"If a tire fails on a trailer, it becomes its own vehicle, fishtailing around," Revenew said. "The safety chains prevent it from detaching."

Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Tommy Barron noted loose items should be covered by tarps. Most of the problems, he added, arise when someone is borrowing a trailer or unfamiliar with attaching one.

"Obviously it's a driver's responsibility, before they put any vehicle on the roadway, to make sure it's safe and secure," Barron said. "Whether they're going to the landfill or just moving furniture across town."

Before the fatal wreck on I-16, Rosenfeld said, her family had planned to purchase a jet ski.

Not any more, for fear of a similar accident.

"Before that, I honestly never really thought of somebody's trailer coming loose," she said. "It makes you aware of something that you previously didn't give much thought to."

Editorial: Traffic laws can prevent tragedies And Our Letter To The Editor

Editorial: Traffic laws can prevent tragedies

5 Comments | Leave a Comment

The thunderstorm that pushed across Pitt County on Thursday brought spells of heavy rainfall, making the morning commute for local drivers a bit more treacherous. While all motorists used their wipers for a clear view, few switched on their headlights as mandated by state law, a requirement intended to make vehicles more visible in inclement weather.

That represents one casual bit of illegal behavior repeated incessantly on area roadways, but another example of habits that can endanger others and contribute to accidents could prove responsible for a fatality. Drivers in eastern North Carolina should do better by one another by adhering to proper practices, just as law enforcement should strive to improve road safety whenever they can.

Tragedy visited Pitt County on Tuesday when a truck moving north on N.C. 43 had its trailer unhinge and collide with an SUV traveling south. Lisa Langemann, a 27-year-old teacher at Bethel Elementary School, was killed in the accident, and her two daughters in the car were injured. The ensuing investigation found that the trailer was homemade and lacked the safety cables and chains required by state law. The other driver has been charged in Langemann's death.

Motorists in Pitt County are likely to have seen such trailers countless times in their travels. Though they must be inspected by the Department of Transportation or the N.C. Highway Patrol, it is not a leap to question how many who use such equipment are even aware that is the case. It means accidents like this one, a wreck that claimed a young life, are more likely than the average motorist might consider.

Safety on area roadways can sometimes seem like a gamble. Narrow roadways with an abundance of traffic and the occasional piece of farm equipment can all contribute to unpredictability when driving. Factor in drivers' unsafe behavior — speeding, eating, talking on cell phones and other distractions — and it is little wonder that AAA Carolinas ranked Pitt County tops in the state for accidents in 2008.

Motorists must accept more responsibility for their habits behind the wheel by learning state laws and following them. Their repeated refusal to do so should inspire area law enforcement to provide additional encouragement through more rigorous ticketing for moving violations. Even the little things — like using the headlights during downpours — can bolster safety on area roadways. That, in turn, could prevent an accident and even save a life.

Our Letter That Was Published!

Letter: Stricter standards for trailers

6 Comments | Leave a Comment

I read with interest the Oct. 18 editorial, “Traffic laws can prevent tragedies,” which referenced the tragic loss of a mom, wife and teacher due to a loose utility trailer. This accident was totally preventable had we had an inspection and safety standards for trailers under 3,000 gross vehicle weight rating.

Please note the reason these trailers are not getting pulled over is because the way the law is currently written it is a secondary offense and not a primary. An offender must be committing an offense, like running a stop sign. Then the officer can provide a ticket for not having safety chains.

The clearest example I can provide of the magnitude of the infraction is the following: Would you secure your own child in a child safety seat without using the seat belt, improper level and homemade? In this example, do we allow people to make homemade child safety seats? I ask then why is the person behind you any less important than your own child?

In closing, the Dangerous Trailers Web site has been addressing the total lack of safety standards, quality and training on passenger cars that tow trailers for more than eight years. We have documentation from the highest level of our government and yet nothing on a national level has been done. We know what needs to be done and I am willing to help. We just need the support.


Glen Allen, Va.

Cautionary evacuation on Highway 221

Cautionary evacuation on Highway 221

Last Updated: October 25, 2010 7:59am

Several homes in the Meadows area were evacuated Sunday after a trailer filled with anhydrous ammonia went into a ditch.

RCMP said emergency crews were called to the scene on Highway 221 northwest of Winnipeg about noon. The trailer, being hauled by a pickup truck, came loose and went into a ditch, police said.

Const. Miles Hiebert, a spokesman for Manitoba RCMP, said the trailer turned over but didn’t leak.

Traffic in the vicinity was shut down and approximately 10 area homes were evacuated as a precaution. The ammonia was pumped into another trailer and the highway re-opened to traffic before 5 p.m.