The state has launched an investigation after a dump truck sped down a steep North End Tacoma street last week and crashed into a tree, injuring the truck driver.
The investigation, which was started Friday, will look into the accident-prevention program of the truck’s owner, Puget Paving and Construction of Lakewood. It also will delve into the work site where the crash occurred Wednesday morning and any factors contributing to what happened.
Investigators will look at what safety regulations are required for the work site, then determine whether Puget Paving was in compliance, said Elaine Fischer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor & Industries.
The investigation is expected to take several weeks. Fischer said the agency will meet with Puget Paving representatives before concluding its report.
The Lakewood company could face a fine and requirements to fix any problems.
Owners of the company could not be reached this week.
The truck, loaded with 25 tons of asphalt, was delivering the material to a North 36th Street repaving project when the brakes failed. Witnesses applauded the efforts of the driver, Rodney Santos, to avoid hitting a group of workers and squeeze between a paving machine and another dump truck as the truck drove down the street.
At the sharp curve at the end of the street, the truck clipped the corner of a heavy compacting machine and smacked into the side of an unoccupied pickup truck. The pickup’s trailer was full of asphalt emulsifier, which splashed onto the ground and the dump truck.
The dump truck and pickup went over the cliff. The dump truck smashed into a tree about 50 feet down. The pickup was sandwiched between the dump truck and tree.
Santos suffered a broken nose. No one else was injured.
The City of Tacoma’s road compliance officers inspected the dump truck the next day and mailed Puget Paving a $124 citation for defective brakes. The city also plans to bill the company for repairing a guardrail damaged in the crash, city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said.
The company will have to provide certification that the truck has been repaired and provide the documentation to the Washington State Patrol before the dump truck can be used on email@example.com