Taunton drivers may recall the accident a year ago in another part of Massachusetts where a backhoe tumbled from the back of a National Grid truck. The backhoe struck a minivan traveling behind the truck, killing the 72-year-old driver. Now, a year later, the driver has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him for the truck accident.
The driver of the truck had been towing the backhoe on a public highway in an apparent test-drive of the truck when the accident occurred. It isn't specified what the driver may have been testing, whether it was a matter of safety and handling of the vehicle or simply personal preference for the vehicle. Considering the incident of the backhoe falling from the truck, though, it might be that safety was a factor in the test of the vehicle.
It may be, then, that this vehicle should not have been tested on a busy public Interstate in the first place. Regardless of the vehicle testing, there are regulations in place that are designed to keep cargo being towed from falling from the backs of these trucks. It is possible that the backhoe was not properly secured to the truck, or that the restraints designed to keep it in place failed, something which likely could have been prevented.
In addition to the charges against the driver, the family of the victim has filed a suit against National Grid likely for compensation they could be due for the loss of their family member. When a Taunton driver is killed or injured in a truck accident such as this, and evidence points to negligence on the part of another party, legal action in Massachusetts state courts may be appropriate to seek compensation for loss of quality of life, lost wages, etc. It will remain to be seen whether the family of this driver will be successful in its legal claim against National Grid, as both the civil and criminal cases make their way through the state court system.
Source: MetroWestDailyNews.com, "Driver pleads not guilty in backhoe death," Kendall Hatch, Aug. 20, 2012