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Overweight Towing Crash Results in Charges


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https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2021/11/10/fatal-crash-caused-overweight-truck-towing-boat-kills-two-people/6378397001/?cid=facebook_RGJ__Reno_Gazette_Journal&fbclid=IwAR3Ejx0kN0p9DtauweovGelWBajmInbqceRY8aoGYYJ-LazteYRioqYPNyw

This crash occurred coming down out of Lake Tahoe on highway 50 from spooner summit.  This is the first stoplight at the bottom of a very very long grade, and apparently the driver blew the intersection.  I'm honestly surprised he made it that far because if the brakes were out, there are some pretty nasty curves a few miles up-canyon.  Two dead and 8 vehicles involved.  This is a giant intersection... probably 4-5 lanes of traffic each way at the intersection (counting triple turn lanes, etc).  While the intersection says "S Carson St.," that's also highway 395.

image.thumb.png.05955fe404ebf3ef9cfc1d25a389d965.png

Reading between the lines I'm speculating that the driver doesn't own the boat and was bringing the boat down from the lake for winter storage.  Very hard to tell from the pic of the trailer augered into the dirt a quarter-mile down highway from the accident whether that trailer even goes with the boat or if it's a generic trailer used by the boat storage folks to pull the big dogs down the hill.

Tragic consequences on this one.  

image.png.e154d3f6edc1f45c51abd56086829cd8.png

Edited by shawndoggy
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Given that the trailer kept on going after impact and being removed from the truck suggests the trailer brakes were not functional or the emergency breakaway cable was not connected.  

At least it was a dually, which conceivably could be equipped with a stabilizer hitch and can have a listed towing capacity of around 40K.  But almost nobody uses stabilizer hitches for boats.  And I doubt that a capacity that high could be done with any sort of bumper receiver.  It would seem the only option is a true Diesel tractor?  

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8 hours ago, TallRedRider said:

Given that the trailer kept on going after impact and being removed from the truck suggests the trailer brakes were not functional or the emergency breakaway cable was not connected.   

We have accidentally yanked our breakaway cable two times(two different trailers) and both times they failed to do anything other than break the cable. 

  • Like 2
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8 hours ago, shawndoggy said:

Seems like that boat is probably more than 9’ wide too, so wide load designation / permits probably required too?

From another article.  Nothing in that one about a wide load permit.  Most of the stuff seems to stem from not having a CDL and not having the truck registered as a commercial vehicle.  The missing brakes on the trailer is a good indication of the issue though - aside from being crazy enough to tow that trailer with a one ton truck.

Gonzalez-Otazo is being held at the Carson City jail on more than 20 charges including:

Felony reckless driving

No valid driver's license

Unsafe vehicle

Obstruction of justice

Failure to obey traffic light

Fail to obey traffic device

No record of duty status

Motor carrier permit required

No medical certificate

Operating a CMV without a CDL

Driver must be able to understand traffic signals

No fuel tax permit

IRO apportioned tag/reg violation

No USDOT/carrier name displayed

Inoperative/defective Brakes

Inspection repair and maintenance (2 counts)

Wheel fasteners loose and missing (2 counts)

Required brakes missing on trailer

Loose or unfastened tiedown

Damaged vehicle structures and pressure points

 

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They are charging him with no CDL and commercial DOT charges as if he was a hired driver. 

But I didn't see any mention of a company. 

I know at least here in Ok most of those regs only apply to commercial / hired drivers. 

Was it his boat / truck? 

I'm with shawn, that looks like a yard trailer.

Normally news stations are always ready to throw some business under the bus. Why quite on this one. 

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7 minutes ago, cowwboy said:

They are charging him with no CDL and commercial DOT charges as if he was a hired driver. 

But I didn't see any mention of a company. 

I know at least here in Ok most of those regs only apply to commercial / hired drivers. 

Was it his boat / truck? 

I'm with shawn, that looks like a yard trailer.

Normally news stations are always ready to throw some business under the bus. Why quite on this one. 

24 year old guy driving a 2017 F350 towing a boat that looks like that.  Probably not his boat ;)

 

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The crash investigation is still ongoing, but NHP released more details Wednesday.

Investigators believe a white 2017 Ford F350 pickup towing a large boat was traveling east on US-50 when it failed to stop at a red traffic light with South Carson Street. The Ford’s brakes are suspected to have overheated, contributing to the crash.

The Ford struck another vehicle, causing a series of other collisions. In total, 11 people involved in the crash were injured, two of which succumbed to their injuries. The remaining nine injured individuals (three of whom were in critical condition after the crash) are expected to recover.

The 38,000-pound, 44-foot boat had been loaded onto a five-axle trailer at the Tahoe Keys Marina earlier in the day, witnesses said. The owner of the boat hired a boat transport company to move the boat out of Lake Tahoe for the winter.

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15 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

The crash investigation is still ongoing, but NHP released more details Wednesday.

Investigators believe a white 2017 Ford F350 pickup towing a large boat was traveling east on US-50 when it failed to stop at a red traffic light with South Carson Street. The Ford’s brakes are suspected to have overheated, contributing to the crash.

The Ford struck another vehicle, causing a series of other collisions. In total, 11 people involved in the crash were injured, two of which succumbed to their injuries. The remaining nine injured individuals (three of whom were in critical condition after the crash) are expected to recover.

The 38,000-pound, 44-foot boat had been loaded onto a five-axle trailer at the Tahoe Keys Marina earlier in the day, witnesses said. The owner of the boat hired a boat transport company to move the boat out of Lake Tahoe for the winter.

yeah, sounds like a big time negligence claim.  big time.

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19 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

24 year old guy driving a 2017 F350 towing a boat that looks like that.  Probably not his boat ;)

 

Probably not his truck either.

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1 hour ago, cowwboy said:

 

They are charging him with no CDL and commercial DOT charges as if he was a hired driver. 

But I didn't see any mention of a company. 

I know at least here in Ok most of those regs only apply to commercial / hired drivers. 

 

 

In California it does not matter if you are a hired driver or not. California has a “non commercial class A”. 10k on a tow trailer. Or 15k on a fifth wheel, you must carry a non commercial Class A. 

I tow heavy. And over 40’. I have been fortunate with my equipment. I explained to the officer. 
“I am not getting paid to tow it is my personal equipment.”  He said non commercial class A is for camp trailers only. I must carry a “Commercial Class A.”

I know if a lot of guys that are getting by with a non commercial Class A  
It is a grey area. 

Sounds to me like the gentleman in this case does not even have a License at all. Let alone a Class A. And 38000lb with a 3500?  I would have to check but. I think a 3500 maxes out at 35k-38k GVCW. It may be 45k with the proper licensing and stickers on the truck. 
Bottom line this guy is toast!!

@cowwboy

What are the hotshots allowed down there in OK?
 

Edited by Sparky450
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My condolences to those killed and hope those injured recover completely. I'm surprised a F350 has anywhere near enough braking capacity for that kind of load even in the best of circumstances. 

Steve B.

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1 hour ago, Sparky450 said:

In California it does not matter if you are a hired driver or not. California has a “non commercial class A”. 10k on a tow trailer. Or 15k on a fifth wheel, you must carry a non commercial Class A. 

I tow heavy. And over 40’. I have been fortunate with my equipment. I explained to the officer. 
“I am not getting paid to tow it is my personal equipment.”  He said non commercial class A is for camp trailers only. I must carry a “Commercial Class A.”

I know if a lot of guys that are getting by with a non commercial Class A  
It is a grey area. 

Sounds to me like the gentleman in this case does not even have a License at all. Let alone a Class A. And 38000lb with a 3500?  I would have to check but. I think a 3500 maxes out at 35k-38k GVCW. It may be 45k with the proper licensing and stickers on the truck. 
Bottom line this guy is toast!!

@cowwboy

What are the hotshots allowed down there in OK?
 

It has been a long time since I had a commercial license, but even in 1992 that would have been all sorts of illegal here.

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Knowing that area pretty well, there’s a lot of open space to “run away” in the dirt… 

 

my big question is why didn’t he send the truck and trailer into the dirt/sand and bushes rather then plow into all those poor people?

 

frustrating to say the least. 
 

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Lack of experience, perhaps.

Downshifting on the grade might have left him some brakes to use also.  Downshifting is your friend.

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That's a pretty treacherous road.  This guy screwed up but he must have been working for the marina or the storage company -- so I feel for him.  

Anyone know what kind of boat that is?  Riva?

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Right my bet is that this guy was a $17/hr working stiff who was doing what he was told. Tragic consequences. But it seems like some liability is likely to flow to his employer. 
 

either that or he was the low bid on uship 

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8 hours ago, justgary said:

Lack of experience, perhaps.

Downshifting on the grade might have left him some brakes to use also.  Downshifting is your friend.

Doubt he was using the exhaust brake either. Exhaust brake on a diesel works great, no need to downshift. When I was “young and dumb” I towed a 32’ commercial fishing boat from SoCal to Seattle for a friend. Even through the mountains of California I didn’t have to hit the brakes once until I hit rush hour traffic in Portland, OR. We hit a cat scale when we got back, just under 20k lbs. probably needed oversized load permits too, but…

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1 hour ago, Pnwrider said:

Doubt he was using the exhaust brake either. Exhaust brake on a diesel works great, no need to downshift. When I was “young and dumb” I towed a 32’ commercial fishing boat from SoCal to Seattle for a friend. Even through the mountains of California I didn’t have to hit the brakes once until I hit rush hour traffic in Portland, OR. We hit a cat scale when we got back, just under 20k lbs. probably needed oversized load permits too, but…

This just reminded me. Back when I was 18. My employer sent me to the lumber yard for a load of lumber. I was young and had not pulled/loaded many trailers. I was going down the highway and jackknifed it at 60 mph. It was loaded tail heavy, tongue light. Luckily I held it long enough fir the traffic to give it room to happen. I have never loaded a trailer tail heavy since 

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Some new info is trickling out: 

https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/bail-remains-high-for-driver-in-fatal-carson-city-wreck/

https://www.carsonnow.org/story/11/16/2021/more-charges-added-south-carson-city-fatal-crash-nhp-identifies-truck-and-trailer-o?page=4

Still not clear from the two stories whether the driver didn't have a license at all, or whether he just didn't have a CDL.

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Wonder if this was another wonderful "U-ship" misshap.

Here is the LLC that is ran by the truck owners. 
https://www.quicktransportsolutions.com/truckingcompany/florida/big-leyva-transport-llc-usdot-2275657.php
https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_fl/L12000025342

Wonder if the trailer was borrowed or rented by the leyva's. 
Sadly it makes me think of the shipping wars show and the idiots on it. Don't own the correct trailer, but man look at how much we could make. 
Rents a trailer and sends their rookie driver to make the money. 

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LLC established in 2012.  Question is, where all does the liability rest?  Driver for disregarding defective trailer (assuming he knew)?  Driver for ignorance (assuming he didnt know the trailer was defective)?  LLC for allowing driver to tow with defective trailer?  Trailer owner (if not owned by the LLC) for renting defective trailer?

Seems there are many ways that this could go.  But ultimately, the driver has the responsibility to make sure he can safely tow.  He did not, but still got behind the wheel. 

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