Federal traffic safety regulators have ordered a Tennessee commercial truck driver to cease driving after an investigation of a fatal crash in Maine turned up multiple safety violations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) deemed driver Randall Weddle an imminent hazard to public safety – a measure the agency takes when it believes a driver is too dangerous to allow behind the wheel of a large truck. The order for him to cease operating was issued on June 22.
According to the FMCSA, Mr. Weddle was driving a tractor trailer for Tennessee-based R&E Logistics Inc. on March 18. While traveling on Route 17 in Knox County, Maine, the trailer of the rig crossed the center line, tipped over, and began scattering its load of lumber across the roadway. Investigators found that Mr. Weddle had been driving 80 mph in a posted 55-mph zone when the incident occurred.
The truck and trailer and its load of lumber continued to slide down the roadway at a high rate of speed, striking a pick-up truck, an SUV, and a minivan. The pick-up truck was crushed, killing its driver. The collision with the SUV caused the tractor trailer to roll over once before colliding with the minivan, which became partially buried under the load of spilled lumber.
A fire broke out and engulfed the minivan, killing the sole occupant who was trapped inside. Two additional victims were airlifted to the hospital with critical injuries.
Maine State Police conducted a field sobriety test on Mr. Weddle at the scene of the crash and detected the presence of alcohol. Authorities at the scene also found a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey in Mr. Weddle’s truck.
Investigators also discovered that the state of Virginia had revoked Mr. Weddle’s commercial driver’s license for a conviction of driving while intoxicated.
Authorities also found Mr. Weddle to be in violation of multiple hours-of-service regulations that restrict working hours of commercial drivers and are designed to prevent fatigued driving.
Mr. Weddle also had an unauthorized passenger in his truck at the time of the crash, police said.
The FMCSA’s out-of-service order states that Mr. Weddle’s “blatant disregard of (federal safety regulations) and continued disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public.”