For the second time in only a month a flagger was struck and killed in Happy Valley, Oregon. On June 23rd, a flagger directing traffic at a construction site off the intersection of Southeast 132nd Avenue and Rose Meadow Drive was accidentally run over by a dump truck. Both driver and flagger were with the crew that was working to repair a natural gas leak.
On June 23, 2017 just after 4:12pm, Deputies with the Happy Valley Police Department responded to an injury traffic crash near the intersection of SE 132nd Ave. and SE Rose Meadow Dr. in Happy Valley. Initial reports indicated that a construction flagger had been struck by a dump truck. Personnel with the Happy Valley Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas Fire District, and American Medical Response arrived on scene and pronounced the flagger deceased.
Dump Truck Rolls Backward Killing Flagger
Crews with Northwest Natural Gas were at the scene of a natural gas leak, and had Southeast 132nd completely closed to traffic. A dump truck driver who was there to help crews with the gas leak experienced mechanical problems, and was trying to remove his truck from the construction area. According to police reports, the flagger in this tragic accident was helping the driver move his stalled truck out of the road. The driver placed the truck in neutral, and the truck rolled backward while the flagger was behind. The truck hit the flagger and then ran over him.
Proving Driver Negligence with Vehicle Malfunction
While this tragic accident was unintentional and due to truck mechanical failure, one could argue that, had the truck been properly maintained, it might not have malfunctioned. The truck driver would therefore be considered negligent. All drivers owe a duty to properly maintain their vehicles so that mechanical issues within their control don’t cause an accident. Because an accident is too serious not to consider every possible factor, a typical accident investigation will examine the accident scene, police reports, and current condition of the vehicle involved. A proper investigation will also examine the truck’s maintenance records.
Accident Reconstructionist Determines Cause and Contributing Factors
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Reconstruction and Forensic Team (CRAFT) responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation. In cases that involve fatality and personal injury, an accident reconstructionist conducts collision analysis to identify the cause of a collision and contributing factors, such as the malfunctioning vehicle, the roadway, and the role of the driver. With scene inspections and data recovery visiting the scene of the accident and investigating vehicles involved, the reconstructionist collects evidence from photographs, video of the collision, measurements of the scene, eyewitness testimony, and legal depositions. The reconstructionist then provides an analysis that an expert witness can present at trial.
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