Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trailers, negligence: A lethal combination in Chatham County Authorities urge safety in wake of recent wrecks, including fatal crash on I-16 Posted: S

Trailers, negligence: A lethal combination in Chatham County

Authorities urge safety in wake of recent wrecks, including fatal crash on I-16

Posted: September 7, 2010 - 12:19am | Updated: September 7, 2010 - 7:53am

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Giovanna Rosenfeld was traveling west from Savannah on Interstate 16, having just celebrated her birthday with her husband and teenage daughter.

As the three reached the exit for Bloomingdale Road, entering the desolate stretch to Macon, a frightening sequence unfolded before their eyes.

"I was about three cars behind the man on the motorcycle, and I just saw a trailer come across the median at a 45-degree angle," recalled Rosenfeld, 41, an Atlanta resident. "It was going fast. He flew up in the air. I saw his motorcycle go in one direction, and the trailer continue on its original path.

"It was just surreal."

The motorcyclist, 36-year-old Carroll Girtman, was killed by that impact July 11. Gerald Adams, 66, who was hauling the trailer that hurtled into oncoming traffic, was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and operating an unsafe vehicle.

Such circumstances might seem improbable, but the incident, local police say, underscores the need - or obligation - to safely secure trailers and their contents before hitting the highway.

"A lot of people I encounter only care about getting their stuff from point A to point B - if it comes off, it comes off," said Advanced Police Officer Brad Beddow, a Savannah-Chatham police motor vehicle investigator. "If we believe that the load is unsecured, we're going to stop you and cite you."

He added: "We're not going to wait for that load to fall off or cause a wreck before we write you a ticket."

Safety chains urged

Regulations for commercial haulers are stricter than those for regular folks who, for instance, tow yard debris or furniture across town on the weekend.

Yet those private cargos are no less dangerous, Beddow said.

"Most of the things I see are brakes that are disconnected, lights that don't work, tire problems, or (the trailers) aren't tagged," said Beddow, one of two metro officers certified by the Georgia Department of Public Safety to inspect commercial vehicles and issue safety citations. "And it's good practice - if you have safety chains on your trailer, regardless if you're a commercial enterprise or private person, they need to be hooked up and crossed."

Crossing the chains, he said, prevents the trailer tongue from striking the roadway if the trailer becomes unhitched or from swinging wildly if a tire blows.

Tickets issued

As of mid-June, metro police had issued 22 unsecured-load citations, according to department statistics.

In a more recent case, police responded July 26 to Skidaway Road, south of Norwood Avenue, after a small trailer became unhitched from a Chrysler Town & Country van.

The errant trailer struck another van, injuring five occupants. A six-seat golf cart also flew off the trailer and plunged into a roadside ditch.

"It was just flipping in the air," Tyler Samad, a passenger in the Town & Country, said shortly after the wreck. "I was worried about what it was going to hit. I saw cars coming."

The driver, Samad's grandfather John Blitch, said the hitch had just been installed by a company, apparently without due care.

"It looks like the pin came off the trailer hitch," said Blitch, who was cited for hauling an unsecured load.

'Driver's responsibility'

Pooler police Maj. Mark Revenew said anyone with a large load should employ an electric braking system, connected to the hitch by a small steel cable.

"If it becomes unhitched," he said, "it automatically activates the brakes on the trailer."

Beddow said a braking system is required for vehicles with a gross weight between 3,000 and 12,000 pounds. For vehicles topping that maximum, brakes are required on each axle.

Revenew said other issues police encounter include improper maintenance and inadequate safety equipment, like the safety chains.

"If a tire fails on a trailer, it becomes its own vehicle, fishtailing around," Revenew said. "The safety chains prevent it from detaching."

Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Tommy Barron noted loose items should be covered by tarps. Most of the problems, he added, arise when someone is borrowing a trailer or unfamiliar with attaching one.

"Obviously it's a driver's responsibility, before they put any vehicle on the roadway, to make sure it's safe and secure," Barron said. "Whether they're going to the landfill or just moving furniture across town."

Before the fatal wreck on I-16, Rosenfeld said, her family had planned to purchase a jet ski.

Not any more, for fear of a similar accident.

"Before that, I honestly never really thought of somebody's trailer coming loose," she said. "It makes you aware of something that you previously didn't give much thought to."

Editorial: Traffic laws can prevent tragedies And Our Letter To The Editor

Editorial: Traffic laws can prevent tragedies

5 Comments | Leave a Comment

The thunderstorm that pushed across Pitt County on Thursday brought spells of heavy rainfall, making the morning commute for local drivers a bit more treacherous. While all motorists used their wipers for a clear view, few switched on their headlights as mandated by state law, a requirement intended to make vehicles more visible in inclement weather.

That represents one casual bit of illegal behavior repeated incessantly on area roadways, but another example of habits that can endanger others and contribute to accidents could prove responsible for a fatality. Drivers in eastern North Carolina should do better by one another by adhering to proper practices, just as law enforcement should strive to improve road safety whenever they can.

Tragedy visited Pitt County on Tuesday when a truck moving north on N.C. 43 had its trailer unhinge and collide with an SUV traveling south. Lisa Langemann, a 27-year-old teacher at Bethel Elementary School, was killed in the accident, and her two daughters in the car were injured. The ensuing investigation found that the trailer was homemade and lacked the safety cables and chains required by state law. The other driver has been charged in Langemann's death.

Motorists in Pitt County are likely to have seen such trailers countless times in their travels. Though they must be inspected by the Department of Transportation or the N.C. Highway Patrol, it is not a leap to question how many who use such equipment are even aware that is the case. It means accidents like this one, a wreck that claimed a young life, are more likely than the average motorist might consider.

Safety on area roadways can sometimes seem like a gamble. Narrow roadways with an abundance of traffic and the occasional piece of farm equipment can all contribute to unpredictability when driving. Factor in drivers' unsafe behavior — speeding, eating, talking on cell phones and other distractions — and it is little wonder that AAA Carolinas ranked Pitt County tops in the state for accidents in 2008.

Motorists must accept more responsibility for their habits behind the wheel by learning state laws and following them. Their repeated refusal to do so should inspire area law enforcement to provide additional encouragement through more rigorous ticketing for moving violations. Even the little things — like using the headlights during downpours — can bolster safety on area roadways. That, in turn, could prevent an accident and even save a life.

Our Letter That Was Published!

Letter: Stricter standards for trailers

6 Comments | Leave a Comment

I read with interest the Oct. 18 editorial, “Traffic laws can prevent tragedies,” which referenced the tragic loss of a mom, wife and teacher due to a loose utility trailer. This accident was totally preventable had we had an inspection and safety standards for trailers under 3,000 gross vehicle weight rating.

Please note the reason these trailers are not getting pulled over is because the way the law is currently written it is a secondary offense and not a primary. An offender must be committing an offense, like running a stop sign. Then the officer can provide a ticket for not having safety chains.

The clearest example I can provide of the magnitude of the infraction is the following: Would you secure your own child in a child safety seat without using the seat belt, improper level and homemade? In this example, do we allow people to make homemade child safety seats? I ask then why is the person behind you any less important than your own child?

In closing, the Dangerous Trailers Web site has been addressing the total lack of safety standards, quality and training on passenger cars that tow trailers for more than eight years. We have documentation from the highest level of our government and yet nothing on a national level has been done. We know what needs to be done and I am willing to help. We just need the support.


Glen Allen, Va.

Cautionary evacuation on Highway 221

Cautionary evacuation on Highway 221

Last Updated: October 25, 2010 7:59am

Several homes in the Meadows area were evacuated Sunday after a trailer filled with anhydrous ammonia went into a ditch.

RCMP said emergency crews were called to the scene on Highway 221 northwest of Winnipeg about noon. The trailer, being hauled by a pickup truck, came loose and went into a ditch, police said.

Const. Miles Hiebert, a spokesman for Manitoba RCMP, said the trailer turned over but didn’t leak.

Traffic in the vicinity was shut down and approximately 10 area homes were evacuated as a precaution. The ammonia was pumped into another trailer and the highway re-opened to traffic before 5 p.m.

Highway 108 Accident Causes Minor Injuries

Twain Harte, CA-- A Twain Harte man suffered minor injuries in a vehicle accident this morning on Highway 108 east of Twain Harte Drive.

27 year old Ryan Holden of Twain Harte was a passenger in a 1999 International truck driven by 38 year old Long Barn resident Shayne Darr when the accident occurred. The truck had been towing a Trail Max trailer when the trailer reportedly separated from the truck. The trailer then crossed both lanes of the roadway and struck a dirt embankment north of Highway 108.

The driver of the truck, Darr, stopped his truck on the asphalt shoulder but then noticed the trailer starting to roll backward toward him. Darr advised his passenger Holden to exit the truck and that's when Holden lost his footing on the loose dirt embankment. The rear of the trailer then struck the front fender of the truck and pushed the truck onto Holden's right leg. After the collision, Darr was able to free Holden's leg from the front fender. Holden was transported to Sonora Regional Medical Center for treatment.

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Seward girl, 10, killed after horse trailer breaks loose

Seward girl, 10, killed after horse trailer breaks loose

By CORY MATTESON / Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 4:00 pm | (20) Comments

A fifth-grader at Seward Middle School died Monday afternoon after a horse trailer came loose from a pickup and hit the car she was riding in. Her 9-year-old brother was critically injured.

Kasey Cox, 10, was pronounced dead after she was taken by helicopter to BryanLGH Medical Center West from the crash site northwest of the Lincoln Airport.

Korbin Cox, a fourth-grader, was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition Monday.

Their father, Keith Cox, who was driving the car, is a staff sergeant with Detachment 2 of 165th Quartermaster Company in Seward, where the family resides.

"Obviously it's a tragedy, and we always support soldiers that have tragedies in their life," Nebraska Army National Guard spokesman David Nore said Tuesday.

Investigators still are piecing together what caused the trailer being towed by Danna Seevers, 43, also of Seward, to come loose Monday afternoon.

The trailer crossed U.S. 34 and collided with the eastbound Chevrolet Cobalt being driven by Cox, 39.

Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said Tuesday that a preliminary interview with Seevers indicated that safety chains were in place on the trailer. Collins said the investigation into the crash, which took place at 3:50 p.m. a mile west of the junction of U.S. 34 and Nebraska 79, is ongoing.

The impact of the nearly head-on collision sent the Cobalt into a ditch, where it rolled.

A wounded horse in the trailer was euthanized.

No members of the Cox family were wearing seat belts, Collins said.

Keith Cox was hospitalized Monday with non-life-threatening injuries. An update on his son's condition was not available Tuesday.

The family, through a BryanLGH spokeswoman, issued a brief statement Tuesday.

"The Keith Cox family requests their privacy be respected during this extremely difficult time," it read.

Seevers, who was driving the 2002 Chevrolet Silverado towing the trailer westbound on U.S. 34, could not be reached Tuesday.

Seward Public Schools Superintendent Greg Barnes said students went home Tuesday with notes to their parents notifying them of the crash. A message titled "Crisis Information for Parents" was also added to the Seward Public Schools website.

Barnes said he learned of the crash Tuesday morning, just as classes began.

"It's been a long day in middle school for Kasey's class," he said Tuesday afternoon.

Grief counseling was provided for teachers and students at both Seward Middle School and Seward Elementary School, which Korbin attends.

"We'll provide support throughout," Barnes said. "As much as needed."

Reach Cory Matteson at 402-473-7438 or

Trailer detaching from pickup truck cause of Thursday’s accident on K-10

Trailer detaching from pickup truck cause of Thursday’s accident on K-10

October 22, 2010

The Douglas County Sheriff’s office said a trailer that dislodged from a pickup truck caused an accident Thursday night on Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora.

Sgt. Steve Lewis, sheriff’s spokesman, said a trailer came loose from an eastbound GMC pickup truck about 8:20 p.m. The trailer crossed the highway’s median and entered the westbound lanes.

Briana Arensberg, 22 of Lawrence, was driving westbound in a 2006 Mitsubishi. The trailer struck her vehicle, which tipped over onto its driver’s side.

Lewis said Arensberg was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital with an arm injury. An LMH spokeswoman said Arensberg had been treated and released.

The pickup’s driver, Eric Dove, 46 of Linwood, was not injured. Lewis said no citations were listed on the report Friday but that the report was not yet complete.

Runaway Trailer Crashes On I-75

Runaway Trailer Crashes On I-75

A mud racing team traveling through the metro Atlanta area said they are hoping they can get to their final destination after their trailer broke loose on Interstate 75.The St. Louis group said the trailer somehow detached from their RV and drifted into traffic on I-75 near Gresham Road.Those on board the RV said they noticed sparks flying from the back-up camera monitor. PHOTOS: Runaway Trailer On I-75 Crashes

“The trailer came off the RV there, following us down the road at about 75 miles an hour, then it took out the telephone pole over there and put a big hole in the trailer,” said Dustin Strong.The St. Louis natives said they hoped they would still make it to the mud race in Florida.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do it right, or risk killling someone Trailer Life...Loose Trailer

Trailer Life

Posted August 2 2010 11:49 AM by Mr8Lug
Filed under: Editorials, Dodge, Editor's Blog

How many times do people have to tell you to be careful when trailering? Remember this picture. Kevin Busta is lucky to be alive after someone didn’t respect the damage a loose trailer can cause. Someone decided that it would be “good enough” to use a 1 7/8-inch ball on a 2 5/16-inch hitch and then didn’t bother to hook up the safety chains. Maybe the trailer didn’t even have safety chains at all. When the trailer (predictably) came loose it shot across three lanes of highway and into oncoming traffic, directly in Kevin’s path.

Kevin hit the trailer head-on at 60 mph and his Dodge flipped end-over-end seven times, coming to rest 262 feet down the road. Kevin was airlifted to the hospital and was lucky to survive. He’s fine now, but let this horrific crash be a reminder that you can’t take trailering lightly. Thanks to Sina Norris for the photo.

Rollover on I-17 delays northbound traffic

Marc Buckhout/The Foothills
A rollover accident, at mile marker 231, involving an SUV towing an RV shutdown northbound I-17 traffic just after noon on Oct. 13. No one was injured in the accident, which caused traffic to be diverted off the freeway at Anthem Way.

Rollover on I-17 delays northbound traffic
Staff Report ~ 10/20/2010

A one vehicle accident, just north of Anthem, involving an SUV towing an RV caused a shutdown of northbound I-17 shortly after noon on Oct. 13.
Daisy Mountain Fire Department Public Information Officer Dave Wilson said that none of the four passengers or the driver of the vehicle were injured in the accident. All five had climbed out of the vehicle by the time paramedics arrived on scene. After getting a cursory exam all five refused further treatment.

The rollover accident, at approximately mile marker 231, one mile south of New River, cut off both northbound lanes of traffic causing a four-mile backup. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Department of Public Safety officials diverted traffic off the freeway at mile marker 229. Traffic congestion was further complicated by multiple fender benders south bound shortly after the initial accident.