Massachusetts and Federal transportation authorities want to know why trucking company National Grid sent a potentially dangerous truck onto a busy Boston area intestate for a test drive Friday afternoon. The truck, a 2010 Freightliner M2 106 dump truck, was hauling a backhoe when something caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle and topple onto a minivan, killing a woman in her 70s and injuring three others.
According to the Metrowest Daily News, a spokeswoman for National Grid said that the Freightliner truck was being tested after employees identified safety concerns with the new vehicle.
“This was a new model of dump truck which National Grid was continuing to evaluate and test-drive following some safety considerations which had been identified by our employees,” National Grid spokeswoman Debbie Drew said. “We take safety very seriously, and we are undertaking a full investigation internally as well as cooperating with the authorities.”
The truck was traveling on I-495 southbound near Southborough, Mass. when it rolled over about 1:15 p.m. Friday. A witness told WCVB-TV that the crash occurred while the truck was changing lanes. “He went to go to the right lane and overcompensated, and the backhoe fell off the trailer,” the witness said.
The truck jackknifed, sending it and the 2000 Toyota Sienna, driven by Yingzi Wang, 42, of Westford, rolling down an embankment. The backhoe landed on top of the minivan, trapping the van’s occupants inside. The driver and her children, a girl, 13, and a boy, 10, were taken to UMass memorial Hospital for injuries. “She’s in very poor condition,” Wang’s husband, Frank Ye, told the Boston Herald.
According to the Boston Herald, state police detectives are analyzing the Freightliner’s recall history to determine whether there may be a link between the crash and safety issues with the truck. “It is unclear how many trucks were recalled, or whether the National Grid truck was among them,” the Boston Herald reported.
“There are numerous potential contributing factors that we are investigating: driver error, mechanical problems and how the equipment was secured to the trailer,” State police spokesman David Procopio told the Boston Herald.
“In addition, we will investigate the following: recall history, defect analysis databases for the vehicle in question and the propriety of when, where and how (Friday’s) reported safety test was conducted.”