A deadly motor vehicle crash involving a National Grid truck hauling a backhoe on I-495 has put the focus on the safety measures commercial trucks must take to protect other drivers.
The National Grid dump truck was being taken on a test drive Friday, Aug. 12, 2011 when the 2007 Case backhoe/front-end loader it was hauling rolled off and landed on top of a 2000 Toyota Sienna van. The backhoe and the van were sent down a 20-foot embankment off I-495 in Southborough.
The van was carrying four people. A Westford woman in her 70s was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old, were transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester with serious personal injuries.
The driver of the National Grid truck did not sustain injuries. The Registry of Motor Vehicles has suspended his license indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation of the National Grid backhoe accident. Prior to the truck accident, he had no recent driving violations, but minor infractions in the 1980s, including citations for speeding, failure to stop, an unregistered or improper equipment, reported the Boston Herald.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office and State Police are investigating the National Grid truck accident. A National Grid spokesman told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester that the truck was being taken on a test drive because employees had identified safety considerations with the vehicle.
State Police are investigating whether the vehicle, a 2010 Freightliner truck, had been recalled by Daimler Trucks North America, according to local media reports.
State Police are also investigating whether driver error and mechanical problems were involved, as well as whether the backhoe was properly secured.