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Commercial Truck Loses its Load and is put Out of Service

On March 27th at approximately 10:09 a.m. officers from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Squad responded to northbound East Marginal Way South at South Holden Street to assist patrol officers with a one-vehicle collision investigation involving a commercial semi-truck that separated and subsequently dragged its unsecure metal container load a considerable distance down the road.   

Upon arrival officers saw a semi-truck with a metal shipping container connected at the 5th wheel hitch, but the rear axle was approximately 50 feet behind the container.  There was extensive damage to the roadway from the truck dragging the unsecure metal box container down the road behind it. 

Preliminary investigation indicates that the adjustable frame pins were functional and there was no apparent stress to the locking mechanism or pins themselves.  Further investigation indicated that the driver did not check the pins on his trailer prior to transit.  The rear axle separated off the rail subsequently causing the air brakes to lock the back axle wheels when the brake hose was stretched beyond its capacity.  When the rear axle brakes locked, the driver continued driving, pulling the metal container right off the rear axle and dragging the container down the road. 

The damage to the roadway was extensive and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) was called to the scene to assess the damage and the needed repairs to the road.  Thankfully, nobody was injured in the incident.  

The driver was cited for the following Seattle Municipal Code violations:

Negligent Driving

Unsecured Load 

The driver was additionally cited for the following federal violations:

Unsafe Operation

Adjustable Axle/Safety Pin Disengaged

Daily Inspection Sheet required

Inspection of Cargo Secure Devices and Systems Required 

Both the truck and the trailer were placed Out of Service due to the stress on the 5th wheel, stress on the air and braking systems, and stress/damage to the trailer. 

Officers spent six hours investigating and inspecting the scene as well as assisting with traffic control.