Medical Incapacitation Led to Fatal I-75 Crash

5/27/2021

​WASHINGTON (May 27, 2021) — The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report issued Thursday that the medical incapacitation of an Eagle Express truck driver led to the fatal, Jan. 3, 2019, multi-vehicle crash on I-75 near Alachua, Florida.

NTSB Highway Accident Brief 21/01 states the truck driver’s incapacitation resulted in his failure to maintain his travel lane and led to the truck crossing the highway’s center median and colliding with several vehicles in the opposite lanes of travel. Evidence from the roadway, dashboard camera and witness interviews suggest the driver did not attempt evasive action as the truck veered across the median and into oncoming traffic. The crash resulted in seven fatalities and injuries to eight others. The crash involved five vehicles.

Autopsy results identified “ischemic heart disease” as a contributing factor in the truck driver’s cause of death, however, the truck driver had a number of medical conditions and used medication that could also have caused incapacitation.

During his most recent medical certification examination, the driver did not disclose all his medical conditions nor all the medications he was taking. The failure to disclose his conditions to medical examiners led to his receipt of medical certifications valid for the maximum of two years each. NTSB investigators noted that had the driver disclosed his relevant health information it may have resulted in a shorter medical certification period, but it would not have predicted his incapacitation on the day of the crash.

NTSB investigators determined the Eagle Express truck, a 2016 Freightliner with a 2018 Vanguard semitrailer, had no apparent defects that would have led to the crash. Analysis of maintenance records and a search of the safety recall database and related records showed no factors relevant to the events in this crash.

Highway Accident Brief 21/01 is available online at http://go.usa.gov/x6apS and the docket, which contains 73 items, is available at https://go.usa.gov/x6adx.

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).


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