Unhooked trailer kills oncoming driver
Crash happened around 9:30 a.m.
Updated: Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009, 6:24 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009, 11:01 AM EDT
CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A trailer came unhooked from a van and flew into the windshield of an oncoming vehicle, killing that driver Wednesday morning.
The accident happened at 10 Mile Road and Je Ne Be in northern Kent County. The trailer was attached to a van headed east, but came unhooked. It flew over one westbound vehicle but hit the following car's windshield.
The driver was killed and the passenger suffered minor injuries.
Deputies told 24 Hour News 8 the homemade trailer was hauling salvage metals.
At this writing, no tickets have been issued, but police continue their investigation. Police say there are two possibilities: mechanical failure or negligence. If it's mechanical failure, there would be no charges. If negligence is involved, charges could follow.
Early indications are the steel pin that holds the ball mount to the van's hitch somehow came loose, allowing the trailer to break free.
"At this point, we can't find the pin," said Sgt. Steve Dabkowski of the Kent County Sheriff's Department. "He wouldn't have been able to pull the trailer if the pin wasn't in, so he had to start off with the pin in there and it somehow, it looks like the pin probably fell off somehow."
The owner of Hitches by George, Jim Peterman, told 24 Hour News 8 he's heard of only three hitches like this coming loose in his 40 years in the business, and none of them led to injuries.
The likely culprit, he said, is the clip that holds the pin in place.
"The clip has to come off the pin first and then the pin has to work out of the trailer," Peterman said.
Even without a pin, safety chains should have prevented the accident, Peterman said. They are required by state law. "Safety chains should have kept the trailer behind the vehicle, and not let it go airborne."
Investigators are trying to determine if safety chains were used and attached properly.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this story.
The three-car crash happened at the corner of 10 Mile Road and Brower around 9:30 Wednesday morning.
A van pulling a snowmobile-type trailer was heading eastbound on 10 Mile Road when the trailer disconnected while on a hill. The trailer flew over a car and landed on another vehicle heading westbound. The driver of that vehicle was killed and a passenger was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the van was uninjured.
10 Mile Road is closed between Je-ne-be and Brower and will be until about noon.
Safety chains must be used, this is the trailer drivers fault 100%.
It flew? and flew over a vehicle? On 10 mile. Must have been going pretty fast to do that unless it was made out of tin foil. Most trailers in tow I see are passing me,and I'm a fast driver. They travel too fast. So do I.
If you want to see crazy trailer people with crazy trailers,go to Flowerland on Alpine during the start of the wood chip season. "Being There"... Peter Sellers.
This life was lost because of NO STANDARDS... Safety chains most often break anyhow....
This life was lost due to a complete breakdown of law enforcement, breakdown of our Federal and State Government to improve this class of vehicle.
It is companies like U Haul,,, and Carry On trailers that has spent and out spent my organization at www.dangeroustrailers.org over $8.00 of Reflector Tape in Virginia... the only STATE to require it on these Black trailers that do not always have working lights.
Our organization has been trying to address this ongoing concern for almost seven years. I urge The Viewers of this Television Station to go to dangeroustrailers.org
and the next time they’re out and about, to take notice of the countless number of trailers being hauled daily on our roadways.
If they look closely, they’ll see many are improperly attached to the tow vehicle, don’t have working lights, safety chains and are unacceptably maintained.
They should then ask themselves: “Why am I riding behind or next to this person trying to kill or injure my family and me?”
This is you!
Since 1988 over 735,256 things have been damaged.......like cars, trucks and homes
Since 1988 over 425,452 people injured....and our leaders do nothing.
Please see this Crash Team Report from the Virginia State Crash Team... and Our Governor Tim Kaine does nothing.... I have given his office this report and video's just like the one on this page and nothing..
USA Today was going to do a story on this last week... but we believe they got a phone call from the Government not to run the story.
Why....??? Who is behind the total lack of any standard for these types of vehicles?
Look at these E Mails I have received..
Hi Ron-Wanted to write to you and say thanks for your care and concern over the recent death of my son. I am having a very hard time right now as you can imagine. He was my youngest and I miss him so much. I cry every day . I am crying now as I write this to you. I cannot put into words the anger I feel now over this terrible tragedy. I hope you and your organization can change the laws so this never has to happen to another family. Thank you for taking time for me.
NO SAFETY CHAINS WERE USED
Even the PA for Nicholas Cage was killed in Hawaii last month ... His name was Michael Davidson..
Go here ... Hawaii has no SAFETY CHAINS Laws... 8 States do not have this requirement...
362 lives in Michigan have been lost since 1975....by "Passenger Cars That Tow Trailers" and a sad fact we can add one more...
363 lives have been lost!! What is the state of Michigan going to do now?
And here is what a Virginia State Trooper E Mailed me about Caitlyn Johnson who lost her life last month in Virginia... Her Daughter 8 months survived....
It is the same all over the United States...
I'm just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your passion involving these trailers. On a weekly basis I issue summons to operators of these types of vehicles to include dead inspections, no state inspections, no break away brake cable, no safety chains and other related violations. I make an effort to check every 2 axle trailer I pass during my routine patrol duties when I have free time. Some of us do take these matters very seriously. I have even spoken to the assistant manager at my local Home Depot reference them complying with state law and inspecting their rental trailers. I've noticed that some of them now have inspections and I will be checking them again soon, this time while on duty for a bigger impact. On a daily basis I look at the vehicle belonging to the young woman that was killed with her 8 month old child in the vehicle by an unsecured, poorly loaded 2 axle trailer. The vehicle is in the impound lot at our division headquarters. This keeps me motivated to enforce these laws, thanks for all your efforts.
"Since 1975 15,211 lives have been lost by "Passenger Cars That Tow Trailers." That stat doesn't even state that a trailer had anything to do with the accident. Furthermore, what is that 450 deaths a year?! DEAR GOD, why do we even allow trailers on the road!! Let alone cars!!
Deer cause around 150 deaths from fatal accidents a year. I think it is time to take a stand! Let's eliminate all deer. Now I am going to make a webpage and copy and paste comments on every article relating to deer accross the United States. No need to thank me people, even though the life I could be saving is yours...
Jury Awards Woman $8.6 Million Dollars Against The Manufacturer Of An Allegedly Defective Towing Coupler Manufactured By Dutton-Lainson Company of Hastings, Nebraska
A Missouri woman who sustained serious head injuries when a towing coupler came apart from a large homemade house trailer that crashed head on into her car successfully won $8.6 million dollars against the manufacturer of the towing coupler. The jury determined that the Dutton-Lainson Company of Hastings, Nebraska knew about the defect in the coupler but did not correct it or issue a warning about it. The victim sustained serious head injuries when the coupler came apart on Illinois Route 143 in April 1997. The significant $8.6 million dollar damage verdict was broken down as $5 million dollars in punitive damages against Dutton-Lainson, $3.6 million dollars in natural damages against the companies and firm whose employees were towing the trailer. Dutton-Lainson’s attorney stated that the company will make all attempts to reverse the verdict.
The defective trailer lawyers at the Philadelphia defective trailer accident law firm of Reiff and Bily have long warned that in many states, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, very minimal regulation exists with regard to trailers and their coupling devices. Many state laws, including Pennsylvania, are silent as to design or construction specifications for towed vehicles or for towing chains or hitches. All too often there are many safety violations and product defects that ultimately lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. There is no Federal law, national agency, or Pennsylvania law that requires reporting or regulation of defective trailer coupler accidents.
In the Dutton-Lainson case, information revealed that the manufacturer of the towing coupler was aware of at least 8 other accidents since 1978 where the coupler came apart, and further, an engineer recommended a study of the problem yet the company did nothing about it.
Keep Lawyers out! They are worthless costing American's Millions. Oh! I spilled HOT coffee and got burned I was clumsy but someone else needs to pay. It is a fricken accident. Has anyone investigated the woman. Was she on the phon? Driving too close to the car in front of her if the trailer was still in the air after going over it then hit her? Was she talking to the passenger and not paying attention? Not driving defensively? Maybe she was negligent? It is stupid that there can not be just an accident! I feel bad for the family of the woman and I hope they do not take legal action due to that I don't think that the man was hoping for the trialer to come loose and kill someone. Can anyone spell ACCIDENT!