Just in case you needed another reminder to always properly secure your load, the verdict has come back on a case from 2009 where a driver was charged with two counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter when the bulldozer he was carrying on his flatbed fell off the side and killed two women who were driving their vehicle in the opposite direction.
27-year-old driver Adam L. Steinmann was found guilty on both charges, and also of driving with a suspended license. According to the indictment, Steinmann was driving his truck “at an excessive speed around a curve with an improperly secured tractor… When he went around the curve, there were cautionary signs for 30 miles per hour, and an expert testified the minimum speed [Steinmann was traveling] would have been 42 mph,”
Meg Eveland, assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Charles County, said that the 42,000-pound bulldozer Steinmann was hauling was not held in place by any chains or straps, but was only secured by two binders. She said the total support weight of the two binders was around 14,000 pounds. An expert testified at the trial that the total weight should have been at least half the weight of the item being secured (around 21,000 pounds). Not only was the weight insufficient, but the binders being used were sub-par. One binder had been broken and welded back together, and the binder hooks were different sizes.
The bulldozer came off of the trailer where the curve in the road was tightest and crushed the car that 63-year-old Judith Ulery, and her 86-year-old mother, Elsie Sherman, were driving. Both were removed from the scene, but later died from their injuries.
Steinmann is not the only one with litigation against him. A civil suit is pending against Steinmann and his father, Adam Steinmann who helped him secure the load. The suit also names their company, Steinmann and Sons Grading, Inc; Lamke Trenching & Excavating Inc.; and Lester J. Lamke, owner of the bulldozer.
So remember, when you take a load you think might be unsafe, or skimp on the pre-trip inspection, it’s not just you that you should be worried about. Always properly secure your load!