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Report: Truck, trailer in I-93 crash violated safety codes

A commercial truck and trailer involved in a fatal crash on Interstate 93 last week should not have been on the road, according to an inspection conducted after the accident.

Alan Condon, 50, of Oakfield, Maine, was driving the truck north on I-93 on Wednesday when a wheel flew off its attached trailer and into southbound traffic near the Hooksett rest area. The wheel ricocheted off the top of a state police cruiser and crossed back into northbound traffic again, where it struck an SUV.

The SUV’s driver, Kerry Anderson-Baker of Concord, died on impact. She was 40. No one else was injured in the crash.

The trailer, which was carrying a modular home, belongs to the Maine-based company Crawford Homes. Condon did not stop when the wheel dislodged from his trailer, and the police said he may not have known the trailer lost the wheel. The Maine State Police located Condon, along with the truck and trailer, at a rest stop and then conducted a preliminary inspection of the vehicle.

A copy of that inspection report shows the truck and trailer together were in violation of six safety codes, including four that should have taken them out of service.

The truck’s brakes were “inadequate” for safe stopping, the report states. They were contaminated with grease and oil, and the brake hose on one truck axle was deteriorating as it chafed against another piece of the truck. Applying the service brake also caused air loss from the brake canister on that same axle. All of those violations should have taken the truck out of service, according to the report.

The attached trailer and its remaining wheels lacked or had improper breakaway or emergency braking, which should also have led the trailer to be pulled from the road until it was repaired, the report states.

The truck has since been returned to New Hampshire, where the incident is under investigation by the state police and the Merrimack County attorney’s office. The entire brake mechanism on the wheel that killed Anderson-Baker flew off the trailer, the police said.

Troop G of the New Hampshire State Police will inspect the truck again over the coming weeks. The investigators will seek to confirm the loose wheel came from Condon’s five-axle trailer, and then figure out why the wheel came off in the middle of traffic.

The investigation could take 30 to 90 days to complete.

Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show the six trucks and two drivers employed by Crawford Homes had not been involved in an accident in the last 24 months, before Wednesday. But the company’s trucks have been taken out of service by an inspector during eight of 11 random roadside inspections in that same time.

Crawford Homes has not returned multiple calls for comment.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or
mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Legacy Comments6

I think the north- and south- are all reversed in this story.

I have no idea who made the trailer in question, and there is nothing wrong with"home made"or "shop built" trailers; sometimes they are better than anything you can buy, however.......Anytime there are four or five axles, any tight turn puts tremendous stresses on the suspension, tires, wheel bearings, and attaching hardware, no matter how ruggedly constructed they are. If this trailer was constructed from left over mobile home axles, these are designed for limited use, maybe only one time, and are built for a price, not long term operation. We have built car and utility trailers out of these with limited success, and this is for moving garden tractors and stock cars. Maintaining them is always a bother. Commercially available axles from Dexter or other manufacturers are better, but still require maintenance, especially in five axle configurations. Perhaps if the truck harassment cops were out looking for these units instead of bothering landscapers with a few lawn mowers behind a pickup, as we often see in Boscawen, things like this would not happen. It also reads like the tractor wasn't in great shape, either, but I do not believe any of those items contributed to this accident. With all the faults found with this unit, it does seem like there was a lack of maintenance, or the maintenance manager is Mickey the Dunce.

May Crawford Homes be punished to the fullest extent. For shame!

Here is the truth!!! Mr. Melancon, thank you for sending me the photographs. I have assigned our Traffic Safety Unit to review the photographs. As you know, there is no legislation that allows the police officer to condemn trailers. You are also correct that these trailers are on private property and at some point will leave the property. Another issue you identified is the construction office trailer. These trailers are normally towed to construction sites by towing companies in order to avoid existing legal requirements. I am not sure how police officers would be able to question and/or determine if a trailer hitch is safe or if the safety chains being used are safe. There is no question if the chains are absent. Regarding the construction of the trailer I am not sure who would make that determination. I am very concerned about these issues and we will take legal action when appropriate. In this situation I will have an officer make contact with the responsible person on site, show the photographs and seek voluntary compliance. Chief Stanley

We are sending this brave reporter more info on these types of trailers. We at dangeroustrailers.org simply ask that if this was a baby seat with 6 safety violations or if she fell out of a Roller Coaster Ride in Texas this article would be published over 1,000 times..... Yet only this one (1) paper is reporting this. The point is if she was on a Roller Coaster Ride and lost her life when she fell out due to a defect her life would for some reason make more newspapers and Television Stations. Why was her life less important? We will Continue to try and save lives if only The Federal Government Stops trying to prevent us.

How many more? How many more? The roads are now a battlefield at anytime night or day. This tragic loss of life should never have happened. No laws will keep us safe. You should treat every vehicle sharing the road with you as an enemy.

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