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

Last modified: 9/25/2013 12:31:28 AM
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.)


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