Highway Accident Report

Collision Between a Ford Dump Truck
and Four Passenger Cars
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
April 11, 2003

NTSB Number HAR-06/01
NTIS Number PB2006-916201
PDF Document(2.6 MB)

Executive Summary:

About 3:36 p.m., eastern daylight time, on April 11, 2003, in the Borough of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, a 1995 Ford dump truck owned and operated by Blossom Valley Farms, Inc., was traveling southbound on Church Street, a two-lane, two-way residential street with a steep downgrade, when the driver found that he was unable to stop the truck. The truck struck four passenger cars, which were stopped at the intersection of Church and Main Streets, and pushed them into the intersection. One of the vehicles struck three pedestrians (a 9-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, and a 7-year-old girl), who were on the sidewalk on the west side of Church Street. The truck continued across the intersection, through a gas station parking lot, and over a set of railroad tracks before coming to rest about 300 feet south of the intersection. As a result of the collision, the driver and an 11- year-old occupant of one of the passenger cars received fatal injuries, and the three pedestrians who were struck received minor-to-serious injuries. The six remaining passenger car occupants and the truck driver were not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the lack of oversight by Blossom Valley Farms, Inc., which resulted in an untrained driver improperly operating an overloaded, air brake-equipped vehicle with inadequately maintained brakes. Contributing to the accident was the misdiagnosis of the truck’s underlying brake problems by mechanics involved with the truck’s maintenance; also contributing was a lack of readily available and accurate information about automatic slack adjusters and inadequate warnings about the safety problems caused by manually adjusting them.

During the investigation, the Safety Board identified the following major safety issues:

As a result of this accident investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, manufacturers and marketers of automatic slack adjusters, manufacturers of vehicles equipped with air brakes, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), and publishers of ASE certification test study guides.