Residents of Truxton, New York and Emergency Responders are reeling after a horrific trucking accident that occurred on May 29. A Newton Salvage truck hauling a trailer loaded with around 20 crushed cars was traveling south on a rural two-lane road when the trailer broke free and collided with a minivan traveling north. Seven people were killed including four children between the ages of 4 and 7.
According to reports, the trailer came unhitched from the truck, crossed a two-lane rural road and struck a minivan carrying two families, despite the driver’s attempt to avoid the trailer. First Assistant Chief of the Truxton Fire Department, Ken Stone, stated: “They tried to miss it, but he ran out of time. All of a sudden, a trailer is coming at you and there’s no truck on it.”
Teresa Bush, 26, her daughters Alexis (4) and Jasmine (5), Lena Beckwith, 21, Carino Vanorden, 24, Tyler Mead, 4, and Alyssa Mead, 7, were all killed. The sole survivor of the van and father of Tyler and Alyssa Mead, Shawn Mead, was transported to a Syracuse hospital where he was reported to be in good condition. The truck’s driver, Ryan Dorward, and his passenger, Duane Newton, were not injured.
According to the Department of Transportation, a roadside inspection of a Newton Salvage truck was conducted in March by troopers. Several minor violations were found including a lack of reflective tape, no fire extinguisher, and the truck was 4 percent overweight. None of the violations required the truck to be taken out of service.
No official cause has been given for why the trailer disconnected from the truck, but authorities say that the hail and storms in the area are not believed to have been a contributing factor. Two of the victims were reported to be under the trailer after the van was ripped apart by the collision and responders had to jack up the trailer to get them out. Ken Stone stated that it was likely that all seven of the victims died on impact.
The accident is still under investigation and Sherriff’s Captain Mark Helms stated that everything will be looked at by authorities, including driver actions and mechanical failure. Any trucking accident that results in a loss of life is a tragedy, but this incident was particularly horrifying, with one Truxton resident stating, “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”