Thursday, November 1, 2007



A 47-year-old Monroe man was killed after an empty trailer came detached and struck the car he was driving in the town of Mount Pleasant on Saturday.

William C. Ladwig, 46, Monroe, was driving a truck that was pulling an empty cattle chute trailer southbound on Highway 69 when the trailer detached, crossed into the northbound lane and struck the Monroe man's car, according to Green County Sheriff's Department.

Four other people in the car were taken to Monroe Clinic Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, deputies said.

A passing motorist notified the sheriff's department of the crash around 8:10 p.m.

Manatee school bus crashes with loose trailer, nobody hurt

Manatee school bus crashes with loose trailer, nobody hurt.

Oct. 31--BRADENTON -- A loose trailer hauling rebars and other construction materials slammed headon into a school bus today, fire officials said.

The trailer had broken loose from a westbound truck along the 6000 block of 53rd Avenue West, according to a Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue news release. The bus, heading east on 53rd Avenue, collided with the trailer at about 7:15 a.m. Passengers on the bus, including five special-needs students, a bus driver and a monitor, were buckled in and were not hurt, the release stated. The impact from the crash knocked off the bus' front hood and destroyed the trailer, said David Quarderer, spokesman for Cedar Hammock. Construction materials -- wooden planks and metal rods -- littered the side of the eastbound lane.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business


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Driver Faulted in Crash on Span: Trailer Came Loose, but No Charges Are Planned in Fatal Bay Bridge Accident

Driver Faulted in Crash on Span: Trailer Came Loose, but No Charges Are Planned in Fatal Bay Bridge Accident

Oct. 25--The driver of a Lincoln Navigator whose trailer came loose on the Bay Bridge in May was "solely at fault" for the deadly multivehicle crash that resulted, according to a police investigation, but prosecutors have decided that they have no grounds for charging him with any traffic offenses.

Three Eastern Shore men died in the seven-vehicle collision May 10, which closed the westbound span of the bridge well into the night and backed up traffic for miles.

A report released yesterday by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said the driver of the Navigator, Stephen A. Burt of Rockville, was responsible for the deadly chain of events.

It concluded that there was no evidence that Burt had used a safety hitch pin to secure the single-axle trailer to his vehicle. Without that pin to hold the latch lever in place, the trailer came loose as it bounced on the westbound span of the bridge, according to the report.

Investigators also determined that the chains used to pull the trailer were too long, allowing the front of the trailer to hit the ground.

Nevertheless, the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office concluded that "no current regulations exist" that would justify charges in the case.

"This appears to be a tragic accident, as it is unlikely that a reasonable person would have anticipated that the trailer would break loose," Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler wrote in an Oct. 2 letter to Marcus Brown, chief of the Transportation Authority Police. "Therefore, there is insufficient evidence to support any traffic charges in this case, including negligent driving."

Cpl. Jonathan Green, spokesman for the Transportation Authority Police, explained that federal and state laws address the proper securing of full-size trailers, but not small, noncommercial trailers such as the one-axle unit that came loose.

Reached by phone at home yesterday, Burt, 45, said, "I'm not interested in talking to a reporter. Thank you."

The state's attorney's decision brought an angry response from a woman whose son and husband died in the crash and who said charges should have been filed.

"My whole life has changed. I'm here alone. I don't have any more laughter and smiles on my face," said Missy Orff. Neither the police nor the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office had informed her that charges would not be brought, she said, adding that she learned of the decision yesterday from television news reports.

Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, said prosecutors had had no previous contact with the families and thought the police would notify victims' survivors.

"It's very upsetting to learn that Mrs. Orff would find out from the media about this situation," Riggin said. She said the state's attorney's office would call survivors to explain its decision.

Green, the police spokesman, said that in many cases, the department does contact the families about decisions on charges. "Unfortunately, anticipated litigation prevented us from doing so in this case," he said.

Debbie Ingle, the widow of the third victim, could not be reached for comment.

Burt apparently will not face traffic charges, but the results of the investigation could play a part in any civil actions that result from the crash.

The police report concluded that none of the other drivers involved in the crash contributed to the accident, which occurred while the westbound span was carrying two-way traffic to relieve eastbound congestion.

Jonathan R. Orff and Randall R. Orff of Millington in Kent County were killed when their eastbound red Ford pickup truck swerved to avoid the trailer, rolled over and was struck by several westbound vehicles. Jonathan Orff, 29, the driver, and Randall Orff, 47, his father, were returning from work to their Eastern Shore home. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

James Hewitt Ingle, 44, of Preston in Caroline County was killed when his westbound Honda Civic hit the Orffs' car in the middle lane. His car's roof was crushed, and the car was hit by a flatbed truck in the right lane. He also died at the scene.

Photos released with the accident report showed the Orffs' pickup truck and Ingle's Civic reduced to twisted heaps of metal after they came to rest against the bridge's guardrails.

The report does not contradict previous accounts of the crash but adds details about the sequence of events after the trailer came loose. It also includes transcripts of interviews with two surviving drivers, Burt and Miguel A. Heredia of Edgewater.

Heredia, a van driver who said he had been watching the Navigator's trailer because he was interested in acquiring one, said he saw the trailer bouncing before it came loose. He said the trailer was struck by the Orffs' pickup truck, which he saw roll over, before the trailer careened into the right lane and struck his van.

According to investigators, after Ingle's vehicle struck the Orffs' truck, three other westbound vehicles -- including a flatbed truck and a tractor-trailer hauling a load of animal fat -- became involved. The drivers of two of those vehicles were hospitalized.

The report does not address whether two-way operations on the three-lane westbound bridge -- a common practice during peak evening traffic -- might have contributed to the collision. Shortly after the crash, Brown said two-way traffic was not a factor, and his spokesman held to that position yesterday.

"At this point, there's no evidence two-way was a factor," Green said. "That's the way we look at it."

Paul Bekman, Missy Orff's Baltimore-based attorney, said he is "absolutely" looking at the issue of two-way operations as a potential basis for legal action against the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Riggin, the state's attorney's spokeswoman, said she expects Maryland prosecutors to study whether there is a need to "better define" state laws on trailer hitches.

"Certainly, the laws that govern traffic safety when it comes to matters such as this will be looked at and considered for possible legislation before the General Assembly," she said.


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Copyright (c) 2007, The Baltimore Sun

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Just after the truck passed me the trailer came unhitched and took off running wild. We were go

Don't run away from trailer safety.(Auto Monday)(Auto aftermarket)

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
August 21, 2006
More results for:
loose trailer

See more articles from Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

Byline: Bob Kocher

A safe trip when pulling a trailer should always be first and foremost. I will never forget the time I was driving north on the West Virginia Turnpike when a pickup truck passed me pulling a trailer with a NASCAR display car. Just after the truck passed me the trailer came unhitched and took off running wild. We were going up a steep grade and by the luck of the draw, the trailer ran into a bank and stopped. Of course I now watch with care when all trailers approach me when I am driving.

A safety feature for trailers that might come loose from their towing vehicle is what is known as trailer breakaway systems. They are becoming mandatory in more and more states each year. The breakaway system is simple. If a trailer gets loose, the breakaway system applies the trailer brakes. Many but not all trailers use a breakaway system. You should check the law in your state pertaining to these systems. I believe Illinois requires breakaway kits for trailers exceeding 5,000 pounds.

In response to the growing number of states requiring a breakaway system, trailer hitch and towing hardware company Valley Industries offers trailer breakaway kits that contain all the components needed to automatically apply power to the trailer brakes in the event the trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle.

"Drivers should understand the heavy fines they subject themselves to when towing without a breakaway system," said Bryan Fletcher, president, Valley Industries. "The cost of one citation can far exceed the purchase price of a kit. More importantly, a breakaway system ensures the safety of other motorists, your trailer and its contents."

Valley's standard kit (@#53700) provides a complete system to power electric trailer brakes should a breakaway occur. It includes a lockable polyethylene battery box, rechargeable 4.5 amp/hr. sealed lead acid battery, pulse preventer, breakaway switch and batter charger/tender.

The new deluxe trailer breakaway kit includes the same components but features a stronger battery and charging system designed to monitor the battery voltage and reduce its output when fully charged - thus increasing overall life.

Kit components can be purchased individually. Professional installation is highly recommended.

Valley towing equipment can be purchased at leading automotive parts and retail stores including Blain's Farm & Fleet, Napa Auto, and Tractor Supply Company locations. To find a Valley dealer in your area, visit the company online at and select the "Where to Buy" link (or call 800-344-3112).

Valley Industries has been manufacturing quality towing products since 1947. To ensure customer satisfaction and a safe towing experience, Valley develops, designs, and tests its products in a state-of-the-art R&D facility. Valley products are manufactured to exceed federal and state government towing standards.

Motorists Can Order Free Guide Online

A new Car Care Guide for motorists turns technical automotive jargon into easy-to-understand everyday language, taking the mystery out of vehicle maintenance and repair. The free guide, published by the Car Care Council, can be ordered on the council's Web site at

The guide, which fits easily in a glove box, explains the nine most common preventative maintenance procedures and repairs that need to be performed to keep cars operating safely and reliably while maintaining their long-term value. It also includes a list of questions to ask when these maintenance or repair procedures are being done on a car.

To further familiarize motorists with their vehicles, the guide has clear, concise descriptions of 12 major vehicle systems and parts. A Car Care Checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service or repair should be performed.

"The first step toward a safe and dependable vehicle is to be car care aware - to understand your vehicle, what kind of care it needs, when it needs it and why," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "The easy-to-follow guide provides this information, cutting through the technical language and terms that often confuse or prevent motorists from really taking good care of their vehicles."

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit

With gas prices at record levels, there is no better time for motorists to make sure their vehicles are running efficiently in order to save at the pump. The new Car Care Guide explains the nine most common preventative maintenance procedures and repairs that need to be performed to keep cars operating safely and reliably, while maintaining their long-term value. It also includes a list of questions to ask when maintenance or repair procedures are being performed on a car.

The Car Care Council's "Be Car Care Aware" education campaign is an ongoing campaign to build awareness and knowledge to prepare consumers to make sensible decisions about their vehicles. The Council has joined forces with NASCAR to launch the "Be an Angel, Maintain Your Car and Save Some Gas" public service announcement.

- Bob Kocher is president of the Chicago-based Midwest Automotive Media Association. Questions may be e-mailed to

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Investigators recommend no charges in fatal accident

Investigators recommend no charges in fatal accident

By Max Foster, Roundup staff reporter

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Payson Police Commander Don Engler will not face charges in a fatality accident in which the trailer he was pulling broke free, killing a Valley man, if the Maricopa County Attorney accepts the recommendation of the Scottsdale Police Department.

Don Engler, Payson Police Commander

Robert M. Harriman, 42, of Phoenix was hit by the trailer on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale July 9. He was thrown from his motorcycle and run over by a minivan.

Harriman was transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, where he died in the emergency room. Records show the cause of death as a massive skull fracture and internal injuries.

Scottsdale police submitted their findings last week to the county attorney following an investigation that took about 45 days.

"We did not request charges, but the county attorney has the ultimate call on charging," Scottsdale Police Sgt. Mark Clark said.

According to Maricopa County Attorney Public Relations officer Bill Fitzgerald, a final decision is upcoming.

"The case in under investigation and I don't expect a decision for a week or two," he said.

The driver of the minivan told police at the time of the accident the intersection (Frank Lloyd Wright and Northsight) was exploding with debris.

The driver also told police he saw the motorcycle driver flying through the air and seconds later felt a bump he believed was the driver being run over. In the investigation, officers found the safety chain hook on Engler's trailer was bent and a retainer latch was loose.

"Both the forward and aft position of the retainer latch could be moved upward with a relatively small amount of force," the investigation officer wrote.

The officer also found that a spring on the interior portion of the trailer "appeared to be partially broken."

Engler told police just seconds before the trailer broke free he felt a bump, checked his mirror and saw the trailer was off center.

"He saw the trailer sway three or four times before it came loose and traveled into the opposing lane of traffic," the investigating officer wrote.

Engler said he did not wish to comment.

"Let's just let them handle it down there," he said.

See related story:

Payson police commander involved in fatal accident (July 15)

The State of Texas





Hervey, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Cochran, J., filed a concurring opinion.


Appellant was towing some dirt in a homemade trailer when the trailer unhitched from appellant's truck, and struck and killed a pedestrian. As a result of this incident, a jury convicted appellant of criminally negligent homicide as charged in an indictment alleging that appellant caused the victim's death by "failing to properly secure a trailer to his truck." See Tex. Pen. Code, § 19.05(a).

The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. See Tello v. State, 138 S.W.3d 487, 497 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2004). Appellant claims that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support a finding that he was criminally negligent under Tex. Pen. Code, § 6.03(d), which defines criminal negligence:

A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.[ (1)]

Cushing woman dies in Lincoln County accident

Cushing woman dies in Lincoln County accident

STROUD, Okla. A Cushing woman dies today in an accident involving a loose trailer on a Lincoln County highway north of Stroud.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 45-year-old Laura Buffalohead of Cushing was driving north on State Highway 99 when the accident happened about 10:30 a-m.The O-H-P says a 20-foot utility trailer came off a hitch of a southbound Mack truck driven by 45-year-old Mark Blackburn of Jennings.The trailer crossed the center line and when Buffalohead swerved to avoid it, she ran her car off the roadway and into a ditch.The trailer struck Buffalohead's car on the driver's side door. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.Neither Blackburn nor a passenger in his truck were injured. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Almost 18 months later, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office

Elias C. Arnold
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 8, 2006 12:00 AM
Almost 18 months later, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not decided whether it will file charges against the owner and driver of a commercial truck after its trailer detached and slammed into another vehicle, killing an 8-year-old boy.

Henry Enrique Bega, died March 31, 2005, on Williams Field Road near South Parkcrest Street when a trailer carrying bags of drywall mix broke loose, swerved into oncoming traffic and hit the Pontiac Grand Prix his mother was driving.

The case against owner Gary L. Moore of Queen Creek and driver Omar Antelo Ochoa is being set for incident review by senior staff attorneys, though a date was not available, said Bill FitzGerald, a County Attorney's Office spokesman.

Investigators recommended charges against both Moore and Ochoa after they found the trailer had loose and worn parts, and the brakes were not set to engage if the trailer disconnected. The automatic system is required by state law.

Two weeks prior, Mesa police found problems with the trailer's brakes and ordered them repaired, according to Gilbert police.

After the accident, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Pinal County law enforcement officials stepped up commercial vehicle enforcement, certifying additional sheriff's deputies to inspect commercial vehicles and training officers to identify major violations so they could alert inspectors.

Driver facing homicide charge

Driver facing homicide charge

Thu, Feb 22, 2007

By EMILY STRANGERThe Brunswick NewsA Waynesville man has been charged in connection with a January car accident on the F.J. Torras Causeway that left one woman dead. Joel Christopher Dixon Jr., 24, is facing charges of second degree homicide by vehicle, driving with a suspended license and operating an improperly equipped vehicle on the roadway.Glynn County police arrested Dixon Wednesday.If convicted on the homicide charge, Dixon could face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Karen Simpson, a resident of St. Simons Island and a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center employee, was killed Jan. 17 when the trailer Dixon was pulling came loose from his vehicle.Simpson was driving westbound on the Back River Bridge when the flatbed trailer became unhitched and crossed over the centerline of the causeway, striking her vehicle.The SUV rolled several times, ejecting Simpson from her seat and onto the roadway. "The charges were derived out of the initial investigation," said Capt. Jim Kelly of the Glynn County Police Department. "Dixon was operating a motor vehicle that had an improperly equipped trailer."The trailer had safety chains, but they weren't attached, Kelly said.The truck also had an undersized ball for the trailer it was pulling. "The truck's ball was 1 7/8-inches, and the trailer was made to be pulled by a 2-inch ball," Kelly said. Unlike first degree vehicular homicide – which is a felony – second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor.

Loose trailer causes 4,000 to lose power

Loose trailer causes 4,000 to lose power
Staff Report
Article Launched: 06/26/2006 04:39:59 AM PDT

A small trailer that broke loose from a vehicle, struck a pole in San Anselmo and caused a power outage early Sunday morning, police said.

The outage affected about 4,000 people, police said.

Roger Christiansen of Fairfax was driving east in the 900 block of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at about 5:45 a.m. Sunday when the trailer he was towing released from the rear of the vehicle, police said.

It rolled off the road and hit a power pole, according to San Anselmo police.

Several power lines were severed, disrupting service for residents of San Anselmo, Fairfax and San Rafael.

The outage lasted about two hours.

The accident is under investigation.

- IJ report

Highway accident leads to portable toilets spill

Highway accident leads to portable toilets spill

By staff reports
December 29, 2006

Two portable toilets were destroyed Friday when an tractor-trailer collided with a loose flatbed trailer on Highway 126 near Fillmore, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. when a pickup pulling the port-a-potties on a flatbed trailer crossed the Fillmore railroad crossing heading east.
The trailer disconnected and a tractor-trailer, which was heading west, struck it.

"It obliterated the port-a-potties," said CHP Officer Terry Uhrich.

The pickup truck fled the scene.

No one was hurt in the collision.

One of the portable toilets may have contained urine, but neither was full of waste, Uhrich said. "It was not a hazmat."

One lane of the highway was closed for about 90 minutes.

California Department of Transportation workers arrived to clean up the debris.

Comments (4) | Trac

that killed a Belding woman and injured two other people Sunday.

By Elisabeth Waldon - Daily News staff writer

SEVILLE TOWNSHIP -- The Gratiot County Sheriff's Office is investigating a traffic accident that killed a Belding woman and injured two other people Sunday.

The incident occurred at M-46 and Osborne Road in Seville Township at 5:02 p.m. According to the sheriff's office, William Wichert, 31, of Blanchard was driving a pickup truck eastbound on M-46 hauling a three-axle trailer. A smaller trailer was strapped atop the three-axle trailer when the straps broke, the smaller trailer came loose and it struck two westbound vehicles.

Linda Chickering, 50, was driving a Dodge minivan that collided with the trailer. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, George Chickering, 53, was a passenger in the vehicle, was taken to Gratiot Community Hospital in Alma and was transferred that same day to another hospital, according to Gratiot Community Hospital employees. He currently is listed in fair condition, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's Det. Mike Morris said both Chickerings were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

Brandie Perry, 38, of Comstock Park was driving another vehicle that was struck by the trailer. She was not injured. Her son, Robert Perry, 12, was taken to Gratiot Community Hospital with minor injuries. He also was wearing a seat belt, according to Morris.

Wichert, his wife and three children were not injured.

Chickering is survived by her husband and two children. Her funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Belding. The Johnson-Feuerstein Funeral Home in Belding is in charge of arrangements.

Staff writer Elisabeth Waldon can be reached at or (616) 754-9303 ext. 3065.

Trailer Hitch Comes Loose, Kills Innocent Driver

Trailer Hitch Comes Loose, Kills Innocent Driver

Last Updated:
12-29-06 at 7:05PM

Improperly installed trailer hitches can claim lives, like the one that smashed into an SUV, killing Sean O'Shea in Sorrento Valley Thursday.

Family and friends describe 32-year-old Sean O'Shea as a compassionate soul and a successful La Jolla yoga instructor.

"Just real pleasant, soft-spoken, kind… I'm so disappointed for his family," friend Mary Rhatigan said.

Thursday afternoon, Sean was driving southbound on Interstate 5 when a trailer hitch flew through his front windshield and killed him instantly. CHP investigators have three theories on how it happened. Perhaps another driver forgot to correctly fasten the hitch with its safety pin.

"Another theory is that it could have been part of a load, it could have been in the back of a truck with other items, or it could have been stationary in the road and hit by another vehicle with enough force to actually get it up off the ground and get it airborne," Brad Baehr of the CHP said.

Investigators say six inches in either direction, and the hitch would have missed O'Shea altogether. Instead, a tragedy, and the CHP says it someone knows they're responsible for this, they need to step forward.

"Obviously, there is a fatality involved, there is a lot of liability," Baehr said. "It could go a multitude of directions, but I think it's safe to say straight across the board it truly was an accident."

A 26-year-old woman was in the SUV with O'Shea during the accident. She was not injured.

A utility trailer carrying a dead horse came loose

03:24 PM CST on Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Houma Courier

HOUMA -- A utility trailer carrying a dead horse came loose from the truck that was pulling it Tuesday morning on the Dularge overpass, causing a three-vehicle crash that shut down the busy bridge for over an hour.

(Matt Stamey/The Courier)

A woman was injured and the Dularge overpass was closed for about an hour Tuesday after a trailer taking a dead horse to the landfill came unhitched, hit two cars and imbedded itself in the side of the bridge.

The crash happened shortly before 10:30 a.m. when an 18-foot trailer being pulled by a 1999 Ford F-350 truck traveling south on the bridge came unhitched. The driver of the truck was 54-year-old Mark P. Himmel of Schriever, police said.

Strapped in the open trailer was a 29-year-old mare that died of natural causes and was on its way to the landfill to be cremated, said Houma Police spokesman Lt. Todd Duplantis.

The crash happened just as Himmel drove onto western foot of the bridge. The trailer came loose because it was not properly fastened to the truck, Duplantis said.

"The trailer was unsecured, it didn’t have security chains on," he said.

Once the trailer was free, it slammed into the right wall of the overpass before careening across the bridge and hitting a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina, traveling north and driven by 52-year-old Marie Pierre of Houma.

The trailer didn’t stop after hitting the Chevy, Duplantis said, but instead struck the car behind Pierre, a 1999 Toyota Corolla driven by 23-year-old Akeem Johnson of Houma.

The trailer stopped once it was imbedded in the bridge’s left wall, Duplantis said. During the multi-car crash, the dead horse remained secured inside the open trailer.

Pierre was taken to Terrebonne General Medical Center with minor injuries to her ribs, Duplantis said, adding her car was totaled. No one else was injured in the crash, but the overpass was shut down for over an hour while crews worked to clear the wreckage and extract the trailer from the bridge’s wall, Duplantis said. The bridge was reopened shortly before noon.

Himmel was ticketed for failure to secure a load, Duplantis said.;_ylu=X3oDMTE4ZDJvb3IwBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNTU3BHNlYwNzcgR2dGlkA1BSRVZfNzk-/SIG=12l9kb87s/EXP=1173128612/**http%3a//

Independence Man Killed By Loose Trailer On Hwy. 50

Independence Man Killed By Loose Trailer On Hwy. 50

A 59-year-old man died in a car accident last week, and then he became a victim again when someone robbed his house, KMBC's Donna Pitman reported.On Jan. 4, Charles E. Lewis was killed when his SUV was sheared by a runaway flatbed trailer on Highway 50 in Lee's Summit. Lewis died instantly.Pitman reported that within one day of Lewis' death, someone broke into his house."I can't believe his house was broken into," neighbor Denise Moss said. "For someone to break into a house, it's terrible anyway. But to have this tragedy on top of that, it's unbelievable."Neighbors hope that whoever robbed the victim's home didn't know he had passed away."Hopefully, it's a coincidence; that someone didn't do this to him and his family after he was dead," neighbor Randy Stone said.However, some believe that the burglar took advantage of the situation and should be punished."It is low. The kids have enough hurt right now," Moss said.Lewis' relatives have filed a police report. Meanwhile, the family is planning Charles' funeral.Anyone with information in the case can call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-8477.

The Mead accident occurred

The Mead accident occurred late Wednesday morning when a truck was pulling a homemade trailer, made from an old pickup bed, and it broke loose. “The trailer rolled free down Colo. 66,” Weld County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Margie Martinez said, “then became airborne and crashed through the windshield of a Saturn coming from the other direction.”

The unidentified driver of the Saturn was severely injured and taken to Longmont United Hospital. The passenger died at the scene. No names of the victims will be released until relatives are notified.

Investigators said everyone in the crash was wearing a seat belt, and they believe no alcohol or drugs were involved.

All three crashes are under investigation and charges are pending

NAPA S.F. socialite killed when trailer hits car

S.F. socialite killed when trailer hits car
She dies instantly in head-on crash

Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A popular San Francisco society maven and philanthropist was killed Wednesday in Napa when an 18-foot trailer loaded with drilling equipment broke loose from a truck bed and slammed head-on into her car.

Erika Hills, 61, was pronounced dead shortly after the 11:24 a.m. crash, which closed the two-lane Silverado Trail, a half-mile north of Oak Knoll Avenue, for three hours.

The 5-ton trailer cut right through her car, killing her instantly, according to Officer Gerald Rico of the California Highway Patrol.

Hills, whose husband is from the family that started Hills Brothers coffee, was southbound on the Silverado Trail, five miles from her home in Napa, when the accident occurred.

The "fifth wheel" trailer, pulled by a three-ton Dodge Ram truck heading north, began whipping back and forth, according to witnesses. It somehow disconnected from the bed of the truck, skidded left and slammed into Hills' 1997 Mercedes.

"It went from the front fender through the Mercedes, almost splitting the car in half," Rico said. "The left doors were ripped from their hinges, and she was ejected from the vehicle."

The trailer, which was hauling equipment used to drill caves for wine cellars, then struck another car traveling behind Hills, flipping over the vehicle, Rico said. Terrance Koh, 32, and Anita Chin, 33, who were visiting the Wine Country from Washington state, were treated at St. Helena Hospital for minor injuries.

The truck driver, 29-year-old Arnulfo Avina of Angwin, was not injured.

The accident happened on a straightaway. Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors, and there were no reports of speeding, according to Rico. It could not be determined whether Hills was wearing a seat belt, but, Rico said, it would not have made a difference.

"We're investigating how the fifth wheel became detached from the truck," Rico said. "No charges are pending at this time, and no arrests have been made. "

Hills was known and beloved, according to friends, for her bohemian flair and sense of fun despite the fact that she circulated among San Francisco's high society. She hosted social events and fundraisers at her Tuscan-style villa in Napa and at her other home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood, but, friends said, she never took herself too seriously.

She was a prominent supporter of the Opera and was on the board of Cal Performances in Berkeley. Among her friends was Gottfried Helnwein, a German artist who recently had a show in San Francisco.

A home design expert, she once owned Erika Hills antiques in St. Helena. Her husband, Austin Hills, once worked for the family business, Hills Brothers coffee, and is now co-proprietor and chairman of the board of Grgich Hills Cellar winery in Rutherford. Family members have made regular appearances through the years in the society columns.

E-mail Peter Fimrite at;_ylu=X3oDMTE4bHU2aGVsBGNvbG8DdwRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNDM0BHNlYwNzcgR2dGlkA1BSRVZfNzk-/SIG=13lean1jp/EXP=1173130227/**http%3a//

Virginia police seeking information on hit-and-run wreck

Virginia police seeking information on hit-and-run wreck

The Virginia State Police are looking for the person involved in a hit-and-run crash Thursday near Pennington Gap which killed a woman in her vehicle.

VSP Sgt. Michael T. Conroy contacted the Enterprise on Monday seeking assistance in locating the owner of a utility trailer involved in the crash.

The trailer apparently broke loose from a pickup truck on U.S. 421 and struck a 2002 Toyota Camry driven by Linda Sue Hyden, 49, of Pennington Gap, Va.

“We are still looking for the owner of this trailer,” said Conroy. “The best information we have at this time is it may have came from Kentucky. The trailer may have been used to haul scrap metal or cars. It had a light at the front with a hand crank wench and a wench at the rear for the rear gate.”

Conroy said they believe the trailer came from Kentucky because it didn't have a license plate, which is mandatory in Virginia, but not in Kentucky.

He said witnesses who saw the truck described it as a two-tone blue ‘80s to ‘90s GM, or possibly a Chevrolet. The truck is described as having chrome wheels and big tires.

“Witnesses thought it was a long bed pickup truck with a regular cab, said Conroy. “The driver of the truck had stopped up the road from the accident, but did not come back to help at the scene.”

Conroy said anyone in Harlan County who knows who owns the trailer or a truck should call the Virginia State Police at (276) 228-3131.

A Hitchita woman died Friday

Published March 10, 2007 11:41 pm -

A Hitchita woman died Friday after the vehicle she was driving collided with a trailer that had broken loose from a pickup, according the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Martha E. Jones, 60, died of massive injuries at the scene of the accident, approximately seven miles west of Checotah on U.S. 266 in McIntosh County. She was pinned for an hour and a half before she could be freed by the Checotah Fire Department and Garrett’s Wrecker of Checotah, the OHP states.

According to the trooper’s report, the accident happened about 5 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 266 and Oklahoma 72. James Casey Hamm, 31, of Checotah was driving a 2001 Chevrolet pickup southbound, pulling a 22-foot flatbed utility trailer. Jones was driving a 1998 Nissan pickup northbound, and Aletha June Nickle, 70, of Okmulgee also was driving northbound on U.S. 266 in a 1998 Chevrolet pickup when the trailer Hamm was pulling came off the hitch ball and went out of control. The trailer went left of center and collided with the pickups Nickle and Jones were driving.

Nickle refused treatment at the scene for a shoulder injury. Neither Nickle’s passenger, her husband, Audrey Oran Nickle, 76, nor Hamm, were injured. Jones was the only person involved who was not wearing a seat belt. No air bags deployed.

The trooper stated an unsafe vehicle and other defects were the cause of the collision.

Jones was taken to Hampton Mortuary in Checotah by Checotah EMS

A Pine man Monday pleaded guilty to three counts

By Jason Cato
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Pine man Monday pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of a Cranberry man and two of his triplets who were killed last year after a three-ton wood chipper slammed into their minivan.

Bradley Demitras, 35, admitted he failed to properly secure the wood chipper to his dump truck April 13, when the tow broke free and collided with the minivan on Route 8 in Richland. The impact killed Eugene Spencer Morrison, 37, and his triplets, Garret and Alaina, both 4. The third triplet, Ethan, survived serious injuries.

"While no guilty plea or conviction could ever relieve our pain or satisfy our anger, the plea agreement ... assures that Mr. Demitras takes full responsibility for the deaths of our loved ones and the injuries to Ethan, while sparing our family the nightmare of reliving the details of that horrific day through a public trial," Morrison's wife, Nicole, said in a prepared statement.

Morrison sat with about a dozen friends and relatives in the courtroom of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester Nauhaus yesterday.

What was expected to be a weeklong trial ended quickly with Demitras' guilty plea.

Demitras told investigators he had taken two stolen Percocet pills and had a beer at Cole's Tavern the day of the accident, said Assistant District Attorney Stephie Kapourales. Demitras also told investigators he was hung over after taking oxycodone and drinking a half-bottle of bourbon the night before the accident, Kapourales said.

Toxicology reports showed no signs of alcohol or controlled substances in Demitras' blood, although a urine test did reveal traces of the oxycodone, Kapourales said.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said his client is remorseful, but was adamant that drugs and alcohol did not play a part in the accident. The toxicology reports proved his client lied to investigators about taking the painkillers, Thomassey said.

"The most important aspect to this case is that drugs and alcohol had nothing to do with it," Thomassey said. "This was a horrible, horrendous accident that could happen any time."

More training is needed for drivers hauling heavy equipment on Pennsylvania roads, Thomassey said.

Nicole Morrison agreed.

"Now, we must focus our attention on the task force that has been created to increase safety stops and enforcement of the motor vehicle laws that, if followed, would have prevented the loss of life my family has suffered," she said in her statement. "If we are vigilant in the cause, our family's loss will not be in vain."

Evidence in the case, Kapourales said, would have shown Demitras was traveling about 70 mph in a 45-mph zone. The minivan was traveling below the speed limit.

Demitras told investigators he felt a jerk and heard a pop, then looked in the rearview mirror to see the wood chipper careening sideways down the road. The 6,050-pound tow slammed into the minivan less than two seconds after disconnecting, scattering debris more than 100 feet away, Kapourales said.

Demitras, who also pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and several motor vehicle violations, faces more than 17 years in prison when he is sentenced May 22. Until then, he will remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Jason Cato can be reached at or 412-320-7840.

Man Killed In Collision On Hwy. 522

Man Killed In Collision On Hwy. 522

MONROE - A 25-year-old Bellevue man was killed last night when his pickup collided head-on with a carnival food trailer that had become unhitched from the back of a large truck on the Snohomish River Bridge on Highway 522.

The accident occurred shortly before 11:15 p.m. when the trailer broke loose from the eastbound truck driven by Ronald Quint, 34, of Los Banos, Calif. The trailer crossed the center line and hit the truck driven by John Westra, troopers said.

A third vehicle, driven by Neil Richwine, 55, of Richland, then hit the rear of Westra's pickup.

Neither Richwine nor Quint was injured, the State Patrol said.

Quint was headed to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe - which opens tomorrow.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

Runaway Boat Flies Off Bridge; One Injured

Local News: Tuesday, July 08, 1997

South Sound Briefly

Runaway Boat Flies Off Bridge; One Injured

TACOMA - A runaway 19-foot boat on a trailer plowed into two lanes of traffic, collided with four vehicles and flew over the side of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in a freak accident that, miraculously, injured only one person.

The 39-year-old Gig Harbor man, whose name was not released, suffered back injuries and cuts. He was released from Tacoma General Hospital hours after the incident Saturday morning.

"It's kind of strange to see a boat come flying through the air at you," said Dennis Level, 49, who was in his vehicle with his two children during the incident.

A pickup driven by a 24-year-old Puyallup man was towing the boat across the bridge when the trailer came loose from its hitch.

With the boat sitting on it, the trailer barreled into oncoming lanes of the bridge traffic and hit two cars in succession.

Next, the boat apparently became dislodged from the trailer and went up and over a sport-utility vehicle.

The trailer then hit Level's car, but the boat missed. It sailed over one other car before landing on the shore hundreds of feet below the bridge.

Tow crews linked together three 150-foot-long cables to raise the remains of the boat, which took 5 1/2 hours.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved

A&M-Commerce students killed in I-30 wreck

A&M-Commerce students killed in I-30 wreck

Herald-Banner Staff

ROYSE CITY — Two Texas A&M University-Commerce students died Sunday afternoon while driving in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 30 while returning to the college town after a South Texas vacation.

Rachel Rollings of Coffeyville, Kan., was driving a 1998 Ford Explorer in the outside eastbound lanes of Interstate 30, near the 78-mile marker just east of Farm-to-Market 35 when her SUV was struck head-on by a small trailer carrying a 2004 Chrysler Concord that was traveling in the westbound lanes of the highway, said Sgt. Bill Vegas of the Royse City Police Department.

Margot Alvarado, 51, of Michigan was driving a moving van that was pulling the Concorde, which became unattached from the van’s towing hitch.

“The trailer crossed the highway median and struck the Explorer’s left front fender. When the trailer made contact with the Explorer, the Explorer rolled over and came to rest in the median between the eastbound lanes of Interstate 30 and the south service road,” Vegas said.

Rollings, 22, died on impact and was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace for Precinct. 2 and 3 Larry Holloway. Britney Lipsey of Celeste, 20, who was asleep in the backseat of the Explorer was transported by helicopter ambulance LifeStar to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where she later died, Vegas said.

Rachel Ashley Bates, 19, of Commerce was the only survivor from the Explorer. She received some lacerations, Vegas said.

Bates was in the passenger seat of the Explorer and was transported by a Rockwall County Emergency Medical Services ambulance to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Vegas said. She was released before 10 a.m. Monday, he added.

Bates, Rollings and Lipsey were wearing their seatbelts, Vegas said.

Police are still investigating the accident and planned to recreate the accident this week to see if the trailer was properly attached to Alvarado’s van and to determine if Alvarado will receive any citations in the accident, Vegas said. Alvarado left the scene uninjured.

A Volkswagen Beetle that was traveling behind Rollings swerved to miss the collision and did not receive any damage, Vegas said. Interstate 30 was closed for three hours while law enforcement personnel worked the scene.

Lipsey’s funeral is at 10 a.m. Thursday at Celeste High School gymnasium. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the CHS gym. Coker-Mathews Funeral Home of Greenville is handling the services.

Caltran Worker Injured In Hit-And-Run

Caltran Worker Injured In Hit-And-Run

Trailer Breaks Free of Truck

Feb. 4 - KGO - A Caltrans worker was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in San Jose on Saturday afternoon.

A trailer on the back of a landscaping truck broke loose on Eastbound 237 near First Street. The trailer went down the embankment and hit the Caltrans worker.

The worker was sent to the hospital with major injuries, including a broken leg.

The CHP is looking for the driver of the truck, which did not stop after the accident.



A Department of Public Works chipper trailer broke loose from the truck towing it and hit a school bus, occupied by the driver who was sweeping. The 29-year-old Milwaukee woman fell and was taken to the hospital. The bus was parked on E. Capitol Drive east of N. Morris Blvd. about 7:40 a.m. April 6. The trailer hitch was found to be defective. The safety chains had become disconnected from the truck, which the driver, a 45-year-old Shorewood man, said happens sometimes due to going over bumps.

Tragedy: 6-year-old girl dies when hit by trailer; 13-year-old boy drowns trying to pull brother from lak

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007 7:18 AM EDT..

Greg Kreller/IPT Two children's bikes rest next to the trailer where a six-year-old girl was accidentally killed Thursday afternoon when she fell under the trailer of the truck her father was driving outside their Caldwell home in the Blackhawk subdivision. Thursday March 29, 2007
Tragedy: 6-year-old girl dies when hit by trailer; 13-year-old boy drowns trying to pull brother from lake

Idaho Press-Tribune Staff

Two Caldwell children died in separate, tragic accidents this week.
One occurred Thursday afternoon at the family’s residence. Authorities said the 6-year-old girl was killed when she was run over by a trailer her father as her father pulled his pickup into the driveway.

A day earlier, a 13-year-old Caldwell boy drowned in C.J. Strike Reservoir in Owyhee County in what investigators deemed was a heroic attempt to save his 6-year-old brother’s life.

Girl ran toward father
Canyon County coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris identified the girl killed in Thursday’s traffic accident as Alicia Sanchez.

Investigators said she jumped off the bicycle she was riding and ran to meet her father, 27-year-old Gustavo Sanchez, as he pulled into the driveway of their house on the 10000 block of Avalon Street in Caldwell’s Blackhawk subdivision. Sanchez’ pickup was towing a flatbed trailer which carried a Bobcat tractor, Idaho State Police said.

According to officers, Alicia jumped up onto the still-moving trailer. Then, the young girl fell from the trailer and was crushed under the wheels, unseen by her father.
“It was one of those situations that was just truly an accident,” ISP Cpl. Ed Robertson said. “A little girl ran out to meet daddy and a tragedy occurred.”

Emergency responders said Alicia was already dead when paramedics arrived on the scene. DeGeus-Morris described the cause of death as “massive head injuries.”

Idaho State Police officials said they do not expect any charges to be filed in what they call “a terrible accident.”

Trailer breaks loose from truck, causes wreck

Message #32 - 05/03/07 04:10 PM
Trailer breaks loose from truck, causes wreck
Mika Edwards
Staff Writer

BAYOU BLUE - A driver sustained moderate injuries when his car was hit by an empty trailer and flipped into a ditch along La. 182, causing the southbound lane of the busy thoroughfare to be closed down for nearly an hour.

The crash happened in Lafourche Parish just north of Bayou Blue Road after 3 p.m. when a large trailer came unhitched from a black Chevy truck driven by 46-year-old Ray Bourg of Houma, State Police said.

The lose trailer struck a red Pontiac Bonville, driven by 33-year-old Gerald McGowan.

The hitch part of the trailer went through the driver-side door, possibly breaking both of McGowan legs, said Trooper Barry Domangue.

The force of the collision caused the Pontiac to roll down the ditch that runs parallel to the roadway. The car came to a rest on the roof, which was crushed by the impact.

The car sustained extensive damage, including a crushed interior and also took out a portion of a wire fence at the base of the ditch.

Bayou Blue Volunteer Fire Department, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s deputies and State Police Troop C all responded to the mid-day crash.

Firefighters pulled a responsive McGowan out of the car, who was then transported by Acadian Ambulance to Terrebonne General Medical Center with moderate injuries, Domangue said.

As rescue crews worked to clear the scene – which was littered with debris including glass – traffic along La. 182 coming into Houma was halted for nearly an hour, though traffic going out of the city remained open.

The trailer wasn’t carrying anything, but Bourg was ticketed with an unsecured load, Domangue said.

The road was reopened to traffic just before 4:30 p.m.

Staff writer Mika Edwards can be reached at 857-2202 or

Start or join a forum on this topic

Loose trailer hits minivan

A single-axle trailer that became detached from a truck slammed head-on into a minivan carrying a family Saturday.
A West Jordan woman riding in the van received severe head and neck injuries, said West Jordan Police Capt. Gary Cox.
The crash happened at 8300 South and U-111 at 4:30 p.m. The van was southbound, and the truck pulling the trailer filled with compost was headed north, Cox said.
The trailer became detached despite being secured with safety chains, he said.
The van's male driver received minor injuries, and at least one of the three children — one of whom is a family friend — was not injured. Another child was taken to Jordan Valley Hospital as a precaution, Cox said. Everyone in the van was wearing a seat belt.

Boy, 8, loses life in traffic accident

Boy, 8, loses life in traffic accident
Trailer breaks free, hits vehicle
Josh Kelley
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
An 8-year-old Queen Creek boy died Thursday night in Gilbert when a large trailer broke loose from a truck and struck the car his mother was driving, police said.

Emergency responders performed CPR on Henry Reyes but could not save him from internal injuries suffered during the collision.

His 34-year-old mother, Sandra Reyes, and her two other children inside the vehicle did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
It was the first traffic fatality in Gilbert since Aug. 26 when a trailer, pulled by a truck, ran over a landscape worker who died from internal injuries, police said.

On Thursday, a detached, double-axle trailer was eastbound on Williams Field Road when it apparently crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head on with Sandra Reyes' mid-size Pontiac sedan, police said.

The crash occurred about a half mile west of Higley Road at 7:24 p.m.

Henry, who was riding in the rear seat on the passenger side, had his seat belt was across his midsection and not across his hips, said Gilbert police Lt. Joe Ruet.

There appeared to be no significant damage to the vehicle where the boy was sitting, Ruet said.

Across from Henry, a jack handle impaled the car seat of his 3-year-old sister, Cayla, but the tool did not make it through to her body. She apparently escaped with no serious injuries.

"Her little car seat probably saved her life," Ruet said.

Gilbert police Sgt. Michael Angstead said the car seat was made of tough plastic material designed to hold up during high impact collisions.

"Thank goodness those seats are made to withstand car accidents," he said.

Sandra suffered a broken pelvis and facial injuries.

Her 14-year-old son, Jonathan, in the front passenger seat had facial injuries and lost some teeth, said Ruet, stating that the passenger-side airbag was not deployed.

Angstead said the crash bent the car's front hood straight up and took out the windshield.

The speed limit where the crash took place is 45 mph, Angstead said, but he did not have an estimate on how fast the car or trailer was moving.

Police are investigating what caused the trailer to detach from a large, industrial Chevrolet truck driven by a 28-year-old man, Ruet said.

The trailer was at least 4 feet by 8 feet and was carrying what appeared to be dry wall or stucco materials, Angstead said.

Investigators are unsure why the trailer unhitched from the truck.

Boat Trailer Triggers Chain-Reaction Wreck
Boat Trailer Triggers Chain-Reaction Wreck
2 In Serious Condition From Wreck
POSTED: 10:10 am CST March 12, 2004
HOUSTON -- A boat trailer triggered a chain-reaction accident that left two people hospitalized Friday, officials told News2Houston.Investigators said the trailer came loose from a car near the Bellaire exit on Beltway 8 around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.While the owners were trying to push the trailer off the freeway, a car hit the trailer and then the two people.Two other cars then struck the car that hauled the trailer.Four people were taken to the hospital. Two are listed in serious condition. The other two checked out OK, according to doctors. One of the drivers has a broken arm.

Copyright 2004 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Bill would name stretch of highway to honor Ziegler

Bill would name stretch of highway to honor Ziegler
By LEROY SIGMAN\Daily Journal Staff Writer

A bill has been introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives by State Rep. Dan Ward, D-Bonne Terre, to name the stretch of U.S. 67 between Leadington and Desloge in honor of a St. Francois County deputy sheriff who was fatally injured in a traffic accident there nearly three years ago.

If the legislation is adopted, that stretch of U.S. 67 between Highway 32 and Highway 8 will be named the "Deputy Steven R. Ziegler Memorial Highway."

Ziegler was in his patrol car heading south on U.S. 67 on the morning of Sept. 29, 2001, when a utility trailer broke loose from a northbound sport utility vehicle. The trailer slammed into Ziegler's car. The 32-year-old officer died the following day at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.

Before he ever became a road deputy, while still a jailer for Sheriff Dan Bullock, Ziegler was given the nickname "Chachi." It came from a character on the old television series "Happy Days" and stuck with him after he became a road officer.

Ziegler was the father of four children. His wife and children became the first in our county to benefit from the recently formed St. Francois County chapter of the Backstoppers. That is an organization that provides financial assistance and moral support to the survivors of law enforcement officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty.

Ward said he feels it only appropriate that the stretch of highway on which Ziegler was fatally injured be named in honor of the officer. There has already been significant support for the proposal from within the community.

There has also been legislative support shown for the measure. Seven other lawmakers have joined Ward as cosponsors of the bill. Included in those are State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, and State Rep. J.C. Kuessner, D-Eminence.

In order to gain further support, or at least lessen the opposition based on fiscal reasons, a provision in Ward's bill calls for the costs to be paid through private donations. He said the Missouri Department of Transportation has indicated the signs needed to designate the highway in Ziegler's name will cost about $800.

Already, Ward said Sunday night, one fraternal organization has indicated it will make a substantial donation toward those costs. He said Bullock also suggested organizations connected to his department, such as the St. Francois County Sheriff's Association, will probably be more than willing to raise money for the signs.

The bill has been assigned to the House Transportation and Motor Vehicles Committee, but no hearing date has been set. It was only two weeks ago that Ward filed the bill and he said it may come up for hearing in the committee sometime in early March.

Ward is confident the bill will be approved and quickly added, "If it doesn't go through, I will be raising the roof down there." He was referring to the State Capitol.

Generally, bills such as this one draw little opposition in the General Assembly so long as outside funding covers the cost of the signs. Ward said this is a positive way of paying respect to an officer who has made the supreme sacrifice.

"I think it is a great idea," Bullock said of Ward's bill. "There is not hardly a day that someone in the department does not say something in regard to Steve. Despite all the joking and ribbing, he was one of best officers this department has had."

Even at age 32, Ziegler looked much younger and took a lot of kidding from fellow officers, including the sheriff. At the same time, he was a "take charge" kind of officer who would not shy away from any situation and one that other officers wanted with them in virtually any situation.

Bullock recalled that Ziegler pestered him for three years to hire him and when he put Steve on as a reserve deputy Ziegler worked more hours than his full-time officers.

"I had reservations about him when he started," Bullock admits, "but he proved me wrong and turned out to be one of my best officers."

At Ziegler's funeral, Rev. Alan Berry s

Pickup driver charged in crash

Pickup driver charged in crash
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Friday, November 11, 2005

RELATED: Police Beat

A reckless-driving charge has been filed against the driver of a pickup truck that Chesterfield County police said was pulling a utility trailer that broke loose and caused a fatal crash Oct. 2.

Police said Benjamin J. Frazer, 25, of the 3400 block of Oakmeadow Lane in Chesterfield, was driving a 2003 Ford pickup truck in the 13100 block of Hull Street Road when the trailer came loose and struck a vehicle driven by Elaine Lois Decker, 51, leading to an accident that killed the Midlothian woman.

Frazer is to appear in Chesterfield General District Court on Dec. 21, police said.

Demitras Pleads Guilty In Wood Chipper Accident

Demitras Pleads Guilty In Wood Chipper Accident
Bradley Demitras pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter this morning in court.

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH The man accused of causing a crash that killed a father from Butler County and two of his four-year-old children has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Just before the trial’s opening statements were set to start this morning 35-year-old Bradley Demitras, of Pine Township, pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for having the charge of homicide by vehicle dropped.

He now faces a maximum sentence of 17 years and 90 days in prison plus fines.

“He comes to the office a lot to talk with me about this case. I can't explain to you how remorseful he is about this,” says Demitras' defense attorney, Pat Thomassey. “I can't. And even some of the things he said to the police, I think he said to make the case worse for himself.”

And a statement released this afternoon from Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala on behalf of the Morrison family read in part:

“While no guilty plea or conviction could ever relieve our pain or satisfy our anger, the plea agreement reached today assures that Mr. Demitras takes full responsibility for the deaths of our loved ones and the injuries to Ethan, while sparing our family the nightmare of reliving the details of that horrific day through a public trial.”

Demitras is accused of not properly securing a wood chipper to the truck he was driving. That wood chipper broke free while he was driving and slammed into a van along Route 8 in Richland Township last April.

Spencer Morrison and two of his four-year-old triplets, Alaina and Garret, died in that accident. The third triplet, Ethan, was seriously injured. He suffered a depressed skull fracture, multiple facial fractures and a broken thigh bone.

Police said Demitras had been speeding and did not properly check the safety connections between his truck and the wood chipper trailer that he was towing.

Stay with KDKA for the latest developments on this trial.

(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

June 7, 2004

June 7, 2004

A 24-year-old Salem woman driving a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta on the Lowell Connector was killed yesterday when a utility trailer connected to a tow truck broke free, became airborne, and landed on her car, which was heading in the opposite direction. According to State Police, the accident occurred at about 3:45 p.m. The trailer was being hauled by Patrick Sheehy, 27, of Lowell, police said. Sheehy had picked up the trailer a few minutes before the crash, said Trooper Thomas Ryan. The crash is under investigation, police said. No charges have been filed. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name was withheld pending family notification

Monday, October 8, 2007

Unsafe trailers rampant in Valley;_ylu=X3oDMTE4ZDBuaXRuBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTA5BHNlYwNzcgR2dGlkA00wMDFfODY-/SIG=130k1bju2/EXP=1176166166/**http%3a//

Unsafe trailers rampant in Valley
Boy's death example of enforcement troubles
Josh Kelley
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 17, 2005 12:00 AM The family of 8-year-old Henry Enrique Bega knows all too well the painful consequences that driving unsafe commercial vehicles can render.

Henry died March 31 in Gilbert when a trailer carrying bags of drywall mix slammed into the Pontiac Grand Prix his mother was driving. The trailer had detached from a commercial truck and veered into oncoming traffic before colliding with the car.

A Gilbert police report says that the trailer hitch had "loose and worn parts" and that the trailer's brakes were not set up to automatically activate, as required by law, in case it broke loose.

Police say the use of such hazardous commercial vehicles is rampant across the Valley, making it difficult to adequately enforce state and federal regulations with limited manpower and resources.

"There is clearly a shortage of commercial-vehicle inspectors," said Sgt. Dave Adams, who oversees seven officers and one civilian inspector with the Phoenix Police Department's commercial-vehicle enforcement squad. "Now, in the past few years, some of the other cities have been getting on board, but it's an expensive proposition for what seems like little benefit."

In reality, Adams said, removing dangerous vehicles from the road can save lives.

>From 2001 to 2003, commercial vehicles were involved in a growing number of crashes and traffic fatalities in Arizona as the state's population increased, said Lt. Bernie Gazdzik of the state Department of Public Safety's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau.

In 2003, police reported 102 fatal crashes statewide involving trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There were 4,669 such fatal crashes reported nationwide.

Two weeks before Henry's death in Gilbert, Mesa police found safety violations with the trailer's brake system and ordered that it be fixed.

Now, Gilbert police plan to recommend charges of negligent homicide and aggravated assault against the trailer's 49-year-old owner, Gary L. Moore of Queen Creek, and a charge of manslaughter against the truck's 29-year-old driver Omar Antelo Ochoa.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office will decide which charges, if any, to pursue.

Enforcement problems are compounded by the failure of commercial-truck owners to get federally mandated annual inspections, said Officer Mark Beadles, a member of Adams' squad.

"Some don't get it done because they don't care to, but a lot of them don't realize they have to do that," Beadles said. "Some don't realize that once they get a pickup and trailer loaded up, all of a sudden it's heavy enough to be a commercial vehicle."

It's easy to tell if a truck that has been pulled over has had its inspection, Beadles said.

"When you find a truck that's had an annual inspection on a regular basis, you will find very few hazardous violations," he said. "If the inspection record is spotty, you'll find those violations."

In Phoenix, police find overweight trucks with faulty breaks "every day, all day," Adams said.

Over half of the commercial vehicles inspected in Phoenix from June 2004 to May 2005 were placed out of service for safety violations.

But in 2002, Phoenix police went from having two commercial-vehicle enforcement squads to one. According to Adams, the effect has been dramatic.

"Now, they know we're not there, and they're cutting the corners again," he said.

The squad that remains is based in south Phoenix but works all precincts of the city when officers are available.

"It would be nice to have another squad up there (in north Phoenix), but it's expensive," Adams said.

Beadles said trailers feeding supplies to the Valley's booming construction industry

Four hurt when trailer of ATVs breaks from truck;_ylu=X3oDMTE4Nm1qMm9sBGNvbG8DdwRsA1dTMQRwb3MDOTAyBHNlYwNzcgR2dGlkA00wMDFfODY-/SIG=136imse4d/EXP=1176169365/**http%3a//

Four hurt when trailer of ATVs breaks from truck
By Amelia A. Pridemore
The Register-Herald

Four people headed to a relative’s high school graduation were injured Saturday in Nicholas County when a trailer loaded with three ATVs broke loose from a pickup truck and struck their vehicle head-on, police said.

At 10:40 a.m., a 2006 GMC pickup truck driven by Donald L. Morgan, no age available, of Jackson, Ohio, was traveling east on W.Va. 55 near Calvin, sheriff’s Cpl. W.K. Shafer said. The truck had a trailer attached, and the trailer was carrying three Honda ATVs.

As Morgan was coming into a curve, the trailer hitch assembly on his pickup broke, Shafer said. The trailer then went left of center and struck a westbound 1992 Buick driven by Garnet F. Brown, 42, of Summersville.

Brown was taken to Summersville Memorial Hospital and then to Charleston Area Medical Center via HealthNet, Shafer said. She was listed as being under evaluation at CAMC Saturday night.

Three passengers in her vehicle from Statesville, N.C., were also taken to Summersville Memorial. They were Preston Lambert, 2; Michael Walkup, 16; and Ricky Lee Lambert, 22. Hospital officials declined to release any information about their conditions.

Brown, Walkup, Preston Lambert and Ricky Lee Lambert were all en route to a relative’s graduation at Nicholas County High School in Summersville.

Morgan was cited for failure to properly secure a load, Shafer said. The accident remains under investigation.

— E-mail:

. A homemade utility trailer loaded with boards came unhitched

Man, 58, dies after hit-and-run accident

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 10, 2002

SPRING HILL -- A Spring Hill man died Friday night of injuries from a hit-and-run accident last week in Land O' Lakes, and state troopers still are looking for a white pickup that sped away from the fiery crash.

Robert John Schwefringhaus, 58, died at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. He and his wife, Dorthy, 54, were flown to the hospital after the wreck. Her injuries were not as severe as his.

The accident happened Oct. 29 on State Road 52 near Giddens Road. A homemade utility trailer loaded with boards came unhitched from an older, rusty, white Ford pickup as it crossed some railroad tracks, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The trailer hit the Schwefringhauses' Oldsmobile, causing it to burst into flames.

The pickup slowed down, then sped away, witnesses said. Troopers said two men in the truck recently had picked up a load of boards at a nearby lumber yard. Officers described the two men as white and about 6 feet tall. One was about 50, with a dark tan and black hair. The other was about 20, with a fair complexion and light-colored hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Cpl. Michael Styres at (727) 841-4181, ext. 130, or Sgt. Leland Frye at ext. 10

Wayward trailer heads for house

Local News
Wayward trailer heads for house
Tb News Source
Web Posted: 4/9/2007 7:51:34 PM

Fire crews and police responded to a close call in the city's north side Monday afternoon. A residence on John Street dodged serious damage from a trailer on the loose.

A neighbour who was outside at the time of the incident says a chain connecting a small trailer to a pick-up truck travelling down John Street broke, sending the trailer on a crash course towards a residence.

However the trailer pulled up short, stopping just in time with only inches between it and the John Street residence. There were no injuries reported and its not known whether charges will be laid.

Trailer Crashes Into Home

Monday, April 24, 2006
Trailer Crashes Into Home
An Abilene senior citizen narrowly escaped injury when a trailer crashed thru her home. It happened Sunday morning near the intersection of north 10th and Grape streets. Police say a trailer came unhitched from a pickup truck and crashed thru the womans house. She escaped injury by just a few inches. The woman and her daughter had just moved back to Abilene from Austin. They secured the house with a piece of plywood. Insurance adjusters are due today. When the insurance adjusters finish their work, more permanent repairs can be done.

The trailer blew a tire on the driver

Trooper Bock stopped an SUV towing a U-Haul trailer on I-90 near Sturgis, after a call was put out that the vehicle was throwing sparks on the highway. The trailer blew a tire on the driver side rear axle and the driver was intentionally pulling the trailer down the highway with the tire off the rim. The driver advised the tire had blown out about three hours prior and he was unable to get a U-Haul rental store to change the tire. The driver advised he was late for an appointment in Chicago. He was cited accordingly and the unit was detained until U-Haul sent a service truck.

A runaway flatbed trailer that had become separated
Daily Record and the Kansas City Daily News-Press

The accident is one of the worst Todd Hilton has seen during his legal career.

A runaway flatbed trailer that had become separated from the truck that was pulling it sliced through Charles Lewis' Ford Explorer on U.S. Highway 50, causing his horrific death and leaving a path of destruction.

"This was about as bad as an entangled mess that I have seen," Hilton said "And that includes doing railroad litigation."

Now Lewis' two daughters, Robin Dayton and Dana Hughes, are suing the vehicle's driver and his employer, claiming their negligence caused their father's death on Jan. 4. Patrick Stueve and Hilton, both of Stueve Siegel Hanson Woody, are representing Dayton and Hughes in their lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month and seeks unspecified damages.

"We believe the evidence will show that Mr. Lewis' death would not have occurred if defendants had followed any of the industry safety standards governing the safe and proper use of commercial trailers," Stueve said.

According to the accident report by the Lee's Summit Police Department, the 59-year-old Lewis was in the left lane on eastbound Highway 50 near Chipman Road. In the right westbound lane, Steven Berryman, an employee of Door Systems in Lee's Summit, was pulling the trailer when it separated from the 2001 GMC Sierra pickup and entered the grass median.

The empty trailer continued through the median, which did not have a protective barrier, and entered the eastbound lanes, according to the accident report.

Hilton said the trailer carried most of its weight in the rear, which caused its tongue in the front to rise up. It struck Lewis' 1999 Ford Explorer near the side-view mirror on the driver's side.

The trailer ripped through the vehicle, decapitated Lewis, who was not wearing his seat belt, and left his body in the back seat, according to the accident report. After striking a semi traveling next to Lewis, the trailer was projected back across the westbound lanes and came to a rest.

Hilton said the trailer, which was homemade, was not properly attached to the truck driven by Berryman.

"There were numerous problems," he said. "It was not staying on the truck for very long because the receiver was too large for the ball it was attached to."

An investigation by the Lee's Summit Police Department reported that the trailer hitch was made for a 2 5/16 inch ball, but the Door Systems' truck had a 2-inch ball.

Additionally, the report includes that the locking mechanism on the hitch was partially missing, and there were no signs of a cable connecting the emergency electric brake.

Jim Foland, who represents Door Systems and Berryman, said he was in the process of reviewing evidence and getting experts to reconstruct the accident. The defendants, who also include Door Systems owners and the trailer's manufacturers and owners, have until early December to file an answer.

Foland, of Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, called the accident a tragedy and said he had been talking to the plaintiffs in hopes of reaching a possible settlement.

"It's amazing how bizarre these (accidents) can be," Foland said. "The trailer just simply came off and went across the median. It was a classic wrong place, wrong time for the descendent."

The plaintiffs have already hired Richard H. Klein as an expert witness. Klein, of Johnson, N.Y., is experienced in trailer design and a leading engineering consultant for U-Haul, according to Hilton.

"This is a guy, who obviously when folks that are dealing with trailers in the country, when they want to know what's going on, this is who they turn to," Hilton said.

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