The trucking company that employed the driver who started a deadly chain-reaction crash Wednesday on Interstate 70 has reported nearly a crash per month over the last two years.
ABC 17 investigated the safety and crash records of Active USA LLC, a trucking company based in Wisconsin about two hours north of Chicago. Active USA specializes in moving semi-trucks across the country.
According to federal reports, Active USA drivers have had 20 crashes over the past two years, leaving one person dead and eight injured, not counting Wednesday’s crash near the eastern Boone County line.
But federal authorities gave the company a satisfactory rating when it comes to safety.
The crash Wednesday killed four people — the driver of the truck and three locals.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Otto Kramer, 63, of Ohio; Vicky Moore, 60, of Auxvasse; Cindy Spradlin, 63, of Auxvasse; and Jennifer Temper, 44, of Columbia were killed in the chain reaction that occurred when Kramer’s truck rear-ended traffic that was stopped because of a vehicle fire.
Since January, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said there have been 69 fatal semi crashes in the state. The Wednesday crash marks the sixth fatal crash this year in the Troop F region that covers mid-Missouri.
Highway patrol Sgt. Scott White said the crash happened just minutes after a nearby big rig fire on the side of the road.
“The first harmful event began with the semi-truck hitting the two passenger cars,” White said.
He said patrol investigators are looking into driver and vehicle conditions and other human factors.
“The major crash investigation unit is still investigating so we don’t know the contributing circumstances, but we can say, the road was clear and dry and the sun was out,” White said.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 1-in-10 highway deaths that occur in a car crash involves a large truck.
“One of the hardest things that we do is knock on doors and tell people that their loved ones won’t be coming home and the hardest part about that is many, many times it’s completely preventable,” White said.
White said there have been six fatal crashes in the last three days in mid-Missouri and that crashes such as Wednesday’s are preventable. He reminds drivers to pay attention, expect others to make mistakes and anticipate problems down the road.