There is no doubt logging trucks have a bad reputation. Anyone who lives near a timber operation or along a route heavily traveled by logging trucks has heard stories about poorly secured logs coming loose on the highway and causing horrific crashes. Seldom, however, do we hear of crashes as incomprehensible and tragic as the fatal logging truck crash last Tuesday that killed a 5-year-old boy who was asleep on the couch in his house.
The Bangor Daily News reports that commercial driver Christian Cloutier, 57, of Quebec, Canada, fell asleep behind the wheel of his logging truck while driving on U.S. Route 201 in Jackman, Maine, and crashed into the nearby home. Images on the Daily News’ website show the undercarriage of the overturned truck, with its load of logs splayed into the front of the house. The impact of the logs caused the second floor of the house to buckle and cave in, leaving the front of the house leaning forward and the top floor smashed into the ground-level floor.
The boy who was killed in the crash was identified as Liam Mahaney. Five other occupants of the house were treated for injuries at a local clinic and later released, with the exception of the boy’s mother, who was admitted to another hospital with unspecified but non life-threatening injuries.
No charges have been filed against the Mr. Cloutier or his company D.A.N. Express of Quebec. The Daily News reports that authorities impounded the heavily damaged 2011 Peterbilt truck for further inspection. Authorities continue to investigate the crash and the safety records of the driver and commercial carrier.
According to the Daily News, Mr. Cloutier told investigators that “he fell asleep, struck two utility poles before his vehicle flipped onto its side and against the house rented by Gary and Christine Mahaney and another family.” Mr. Cloutier was listed in fair condition at a Bangor hospital.