Accidents In Massachusetts!

Billerica police charge pair in runaway trailer crash

By Evan Lips, elips@lowellsun.com

OVER 4,000 NEWS ARTICLES WE JUST CAN'T BUY EVERY ONE....BUT HERE ARE A FEW!

Sun, The (Lowell, MA)

June 7, 2004

   
Section: Today's Headlines

Freak crash claims life
Salem woman, 24, killed when runaway trailer crosses Connector median
Author: ROBERT MILLS, Sun Staff

Article Text:

LOWELL A 24-year-old Salem woman was killed in a freak accident on the Lowell Connector yesterday when a trailer disconnected from a tow truck, crossed the median and slammed into the driver's side window of her car going in the opposite direction.

Jeanine Rodgers, of Salem, Mass., was pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:45 p.m. crash near the Industrial Avenue interchange. She was alone in her 1998 Volkswagen Jetta.

State police said Patrick Sheehy, 27, of Lowell, removed the trailer from the side of Interstate 495 south during a call for Stuart's Towing, 117 Congress St., Lowell. He was taking the trailer inbound toward Lowell on the Connector when it broke free from the back of the truck.

The roughly 8-foot utility trailer became airborne as it crossed the median and landed on the windshield of the woman's car, which she was driving outbound on the Connector toward Interstate 495.

Trooper Robert Outwater said an investigation is under way but that preliminary indications are that the trailer may not have been adequately secured to the truck.

Traffic was cut down to one lane on the Connector as state police accident reconstructionists and members of the state police truck team started their investigation. No major backups resulted.

The car came to a rest near the guardrail facing the wrong way on the side of the road. The trailer remained leaning against the car, partially inside it. The trailer's wheels and axle were about 20-yards down the road.

Sheehy's tow truck remained on the inbound side of the road.

A man who answered the phone at Stuart's Towing last night said the company would not comment on the crash. Sheehy could not be reached for comment.

Robert Mills' e-mail address is rmills@lowellsun.com .

Caption:

Sun, The (Lowell, MA)

June 7, 2004
   
Section: Today's Headlines

Freak crash claims life
Salem woman, 24, killed when runaway trailer crosses Connector median
Author: ROBERT MILLS, Sun Staff

Article Text:

LOWELL A 24-year-old Salem woman was killed in a freak accident on the Lowell Connector yesterday when a trailer disconnected from a tow truck, crossed the median and slammed into the driver's side window of her car going in the opposite direction.

Jeanine Rodgers, of Salem, Mass., was pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:45 p.m. crash near the Industrial Avenue interchange. She was alone in her 1998 Volkswagen Jetta.

State police said Patrick Sheehy, 27, of Lowell, removed the trailer from the side of Interstate 495 south during a call for Stuart's Towing, 117 Congress St., Lowell. He was taking the trailer inbound toward Lowell on the Connector when it broke free from the back of the truck.

The roughly 8-foot utility trailer became airborne as it crossed the median and landed on the windshield of the woman's car, which she was driving outbound on the Connector toward Interstate 495.

Trooper Robert Outwater said an investigation is under way but that preliminary indications are that the trailer may not have been adequately secured to the truck.

Traffic was cut down to one lane on the Connector as state police accident reconstructionists and members of the state police truck team started their investigation. No major backups resulted.

The car came to a rest near the guardrail facing the wrong way on the side of the road. The trailer remained leaning against the car, partially inside it. The trailer's wheels and axle were about 20-yards down the road.

Sheehy's tow truck remained on the inbound side of the road.

A man who answered the phone at Stuart's Towing last night said the company would not comment on the crash. Sheehy could not be reached for comment.

Robert Mills' e-mail address is rmills@lowellsun.com .



Sun, The (Lowell, MA)

June 18, 2004
   

Section: Local

Tow truck driver to face charges in freak fatal crash
Author: ROBERT MILLS, Sun Staff

Article Text:

LOWELL A Lowell tow truck driver will face motor vehicle homicide charges in connection with a freak June 6 accident in which a trailer disconnected from his tow truck and killed another motorist going the opposite direction on the Lowell Connector.

Patrick Sheehy, 27, of Lowell, will be summonsed to court to face a misdemeanor count of negligent motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death of Jeanine Rodgers, 24, of Hamilton.

Rodgers was killed when a trailer that was being towed by Sheehy came loose on the Lowell Connector, crossed the median, became airborne, and slammed into the driver's side window of her Volkswagen Jetta.

Rodgers was pronounced dead at the scene.

The company Sheehy was working for, Stuart's Towing, 117 Congress St., Lowell, was given a $35 civil citation for improperly securing the trailer the day after the accident.

The company was also suspended from state police tow lists.

Lowell police still use Stuart's for towing but have prohibited the company from sending Sheehy on any jobs they do for the city, according to Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.

Trooper Robert Outwater, who is investigating the accident, said he mailed a summons to Sheehy earlier this week.

Emily LaGrassa, spokesman for District Attorney Martha Coakley, said an arraignment date will not be set until Sheehy responds to the summons.

She said state police have not yet forwarded their report on the accident so she could not provide more details.

Shortly before the accident, Sheehy had been called to Interstate 495 south, just before the connector, because the trailer came loose from a vehicle driven by Lowell King, of Derby, Conn.

No one was injured when it came loose the first time but the trailer ended up in the middle of the interstate.

State police called Stuart's Towing because the trailer could not be reconnected to King's vehicle. It came loose as Sheehy was towing it into the city following the first incident.

The count of motor vehicle homicide that will be brought against Sheehy is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of 2 1/2 years in jail. The more serious felony version of the charge would only be brought if he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Outwater said investigators are still awaiting results of Sheehy's blood work from the hospital.

Sheehy could not be reached for comment. No one answered repeated calls to Stuart's.

Rodgers was a graduate of UMass Lowell who worked Salem Parks and Recreation Department. Her family referred questions to their attorney, who could not be reached.

Sun, The (Lowell, MA)

June 11, 2004
    
Section: Local


Trailer safety has come far, but experts stress proper procedures
Author: PETER WARD, Sun Staff

Article Text:

LOWELL Crashes involving vehicles towing cargo-laden trailers are uncommon. But fatalities such as Sunday's freak crash on the Lowell Connector are extremely rare.

Trailer safety has come a long way, through design improvements to brakes and weight-distribution systems.

Even so, experts say much can go wrong if drivers aren't aware of trailer laws.

Jeanine Rodgers, 24, of Hamilton, was killed when an abandoned 8-foot trailer came loose from a tow truck, careened across the median and smashed into the windshield of her Volkswagen Jetta. The trailer had been left on Interstate 495 by a Connecticut man driving a Ford Explorer.

State police fined Stuart's Automotive of Lowell and suspended the company for improperly securing the trailer to the tow truck. The incident is still under investigation.

As of last month, there were 712,742 trailers registered in Massachusetts, including cargo, horse and boat trailers. They're part of the 5.4 million vehicles registered in the state.

Trailers are rated on gross vehicle weight, which is the total of the trailer's weight plus the maximum cargo it can carry. Each state determines which trailers require brakes; in Massachusetts and Connecticut, trailers rated at 3,000 pounds or more must be equipped with brakes.

Those trailers must also have a brake line that, if snapped when the vehicle separates from the trailer, automatically applies the brakes.

But many trailers are designed to fall short of the threshold for requiring brakes. Trailers rated at 2,990 pounds, barely skirting the 3,000-pound threshold, are quite common.

Then there are the homemade jobs.

More and more, owners of homemade trailers assume erroneously that they need not be registered and inspected, but they do.

"The Registry treats them like vehicles," said a trailer expert contacted by The Sun who didn't want his name published.

Trailers in the Bay State, like cars and trucks, must be registered. If they weigh more than 300 pounds, they also require a title and proof that they're insured.

Furthermore, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles requires the use of a pair of safety chains that connects the trailer to a hitch on the towing vehicle, said Registry Spokesperson Amy O'Hearn.

Accidents with trailers are uncommon.

In 2002, the last year for which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has complete statistics, there were 7.1 million vehicle crashes in the United States resulting in property damage.

Of those, about 37,000 involved vehicles pulling one or more trailers accounting for about one-half of 1 percent. The vast majority, about 26,000, involved light pickup trucks and only 338 involved cars.

Fatal accidents involving trailers comprised a minuscule portion.

There were 325 fatal trailer accidents in 2002, though the trailer wasn't necessarily the cause. Again, the bulk of accidents involved light pickup trucks. That year there were 48,254 fatal crashes of all kinds.

The trailer expert contacted by The Sun said drivers should follow all safety rules before they tow a trailer.

It's vital, for instance, that the hitch on the towing vehicle have a ball cup compatible to the trailer's coupler.

Also, it's wise to cross the two safety chains before attaching them so that if one disconnects, there's a good chance it will be caught by the other.

"Now," said the expert, "you have a cradle effect."

Peter Ward's e-mail address is pward@lowellsun.com .



Eagle-Tribune, The (Lawrence, MA)

May 22, 2011
   
Section: LOCAL
Page: 11


Despite work on I-495 bridge, ride remains bumpy
Author: Mike LaBeLLa mlabella@eagletribune.com

Article Text:

HAVERHILL — After two trailers carrying animals broke loose from their tow vehicles and crashed on an Interstate 495 bridge, the state has begun repairs to create a smoother driving surface.

But the repairs are happening much later than city officials expected — in May instead of earlier this spring when the weather cleared. The crashes happened in September and December.

While the repair work has somewhat improved the surface of the bridge over the Merrimack River, it is still rough in both the north-and south-bound lanes, particularly for heavy vehicles such as truck and trailers.

City Councilor David Hall said he was under the impression that the repairs were to have been completed by this time. He said he crosses the bridge five or six times a week, and that the ride is still bumpy.

“Months ago, we held a conference call in the mayor’s office with the state Department of Transportation and we were told this was going to be a top priority and that it would be addressed,” said Hall, who is chairman of the public safety committee.

“Here we are almost into June, and I don’t see any progress out there. It’s more than bumpy. It’s dangerous,” Hall said.

“When tractor trailers are traveling side by side the road is so rough they are bouncing. It won’t take much to veer left or right into a passing car.”

Adam Hurtubise, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the first phase of the work involves nighttime repairs to the bridge decking.

This part of the project should be completed in a few weeks, he said. But drivers should brace for a continued bumpy ride as federal funding the state has requested to repave the bridges is pending, he said.

State officials said repairs have been taking place at night based on the availability of crews, and when emergency or other repairs are not being completed elsewhere throughout the Department of Transportation’s District 4, which includes Haverhill. Repair crews typically shut down one lane when working, then reopen that lane in time for the morning commute.





Website Builder