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Accident Report Detail

Ford Construction Company Truck- Semi-Trailer/Dodge Van Collision

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAbout 4:00 p.m. e.d.t., on May 12, 1977, a partially loaded flatbed truck, towing a flatbed utility semitrailer fully loaded with a loader-backhoe tractor, was descending a curved, steep, long grade near Marion, North Carolina, when the combination vehicle suddenly began to accelerate. The truck-semitrailer remained on the roadway for about 1/3 of a mile and was negotiating a curve when it skidded sideways; the semitrailer crossed into the opposing traffic lane. The loader-backhoe tractor broke free of its restraining chains and vaulted to the roadway into the path of an oncoming van. The truck-semitrailer continued ahead, left the road, and struck a tree. Five occupants of the van were killed and two were critically injured. The truckdriver was not injured; a passenger in the truck received minor injuries.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the loss of braking effectiveness which permitted the truck-semitrailer to accelerate out-of-control down a long, steep grade. The loss of braking effectiveness was caused by inoperative brakes on the semitrailer, which resulted from inept and inadequate maintenance and by the operation of this unsafe vehicle.

Accident Location: Marion , NC    
Accident Date: 5/12/1977
Accident ID: 79829

Date Adopted: 5/4/1978
NTSB Number: HAR-78-03
NTIS Number: PB-282426/AS

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