On June 27, 2015, Benjamin S. Brewer was driving a semi truck and trailer along Interstate 75 in Tennessee. He was working for Cool Runnings Express Inc., a transportation company—apparently making his first fun, according to some news reports.
Because of road construction, traffic was stopped northeast of Chattanooga. For unknown reasons, the driver failed to stop, and plowed into eight vehicles, killing six people. An investigation is under way. So far, authorities have revealed that the driver was cited for careless driving the day before the tragic accident, and was also a wanted man.
Truck Driver Cited for Careless Driving Day Before Deadly Accident
According to Times Free Press, the 39-year-old driver attempted to pass while driving in Florida on the day before the Tennessee crash. In so doing, he sideswiped a truck, striking the left bumper. Both vehicles pulled to the side of the highway and the police were called.
Neither driver was hurt, but the driver in the Tennessee accident was cited for careless driving and ordered to pay a fine of $166. Why he ran into the other truck was unknown—there were no dangerous road conditions at the time, and he wasn’t distracted, according to reports.
Driver Had a Warrant Out for His Arrest
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the deadly crash in Chattanooga. So far, it is unclear why the driver failed to stop his truck. WSMV News in Nashville reported that the driver had started working with Cool Runnings Express only three days before the accident occurred.
There are now questions as to whether the company did an adequate background check on the driver before hiring him. Truck companies are responsible for making sure their employees are safe to be on the road. According to Times Free Press, the driver had a warrant out for his arrest in Wisconsin.
The order was connected to a misdemeanor offense—illegally obtaining a prescription drug. The driver was stopped by officers at a pharmacy in Rock County, Wisconsin, after the officers received a report of someone trying to obtain a prescription for narcotics. They found pills on the driver, and he told the officers the medication was for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
No charges have been brought against the driver so far, but he’s unable to drive a truck until the investigation is completed.
Transportation Company Under Investigation
Considering Cool Runnings Express may have failed in their examination of the driver, authorities decided to investigate further, to examine the safety record of the company. Federal records show that the company’s trucks have been shut down three times since 2013 because of safety issues. These shutdowns resulted from random safety inspections that the trucks failed because of brake and other problems. The company also failed three of eight vehicle inspections, and two of 14 driver inspections, over the past 24 months.
The company is small, and operates only six trucks. Food, fresh produce, and meat make up most of their cargo.
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