We all knew this day was coming, what with the overweight trucks carrying loads of water and chemicals roaring all over the back roads and highways of Marcellus Shale country. We all knew that at some point, somehow, somebody from Northeastern Pennsylvania, some innocent bystander, was going to get killed as a consequence of the mostly-unregulated explosion of natural gas drilling operations in this area. And on July 31, 2011, it happened.
One Dead, One Injured in Crash With Fracking Truck(Read the rest here.)
Lawsville Center, Susquehanna County - One person is dead and another in the hospital after a truck hauling materials for natural gas drilling was involved in a crash in Susquehanna County.
"We saw the accident. He didn't even stop. He just ran over that car. It was horrible," said Lisa Ryan of Lawsville Center.
She couldn't believe her eyes Friday night in Liberty Township, Susquehanna County. She witnessed a truck, hauling materials for a natural gas drilling site, flip onto a car around seven o'clock.
"It's just horrible, just horrible what happened. I was hugging that girl that was in that accident, I had blood all over me," said Ryan.
State police say the truck came down State Route 29 and tipped onto this Subaru sedan, killing the driver inside and injuring a passenger. A horrific sight to see for some.
"I don't know if I want to talk about it. It was just really bad," said Brenton Warner of Lawsville Center. "It was just coming down too fast and he wasn't paying attention. He wrecked the car really bad."
The driver of the truck was not harmed.
From the Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice:
Driver killed when drilling truck overturns(Read more here.)
LIBERTY TWP. - State police in Susquehanna County are investigating a two-vehicle crash that killed a 57-year-old man from Brackney Friday evening.
State police said a commercial truck driven by James Robert Hoffpauir, 50, of Montgomery, Texas, overturned onto a Subaru Legacy at the intersection of Laurel Lake Road and state Route 29 at about 6:50 p.m. The driver of the Subaru, John Jones III, was killed. Both an unnamed 17-year-old passenger of Jones', as well as Hoffpauir, were moderately injured, state police said.
The truck is owned by Casa Grande, Ariz.-based Southeast Directional Drilling LLC.
So what happens next? What will the charges be in this case? Manslaughter? Vehicular homicide? Reckless endangerment? Failing to come to a complete stop?
Most likely: none of the above. Accidents will happen. Sacrifices must be made. The cost of doing business.
Pennsylvania roads are dangerous any time of year: mountainous, curvy, full of surprises like herds of deer, or children at play. Many truckers drive with a reckless disregard for both speed limits and the safety of the little vehicles all around them. In this case it may be that such disregard, coupled with an out-of-state trucker with little familiarity with navigating hills in an overloaded vehicle, resulted in the totally avoidable death of someone who happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time.
School buses begin rolling in just a few weeks. Then the leaves will turn colors and fall from the trees, and then Winter will follow with generous helpings of snow and ice and fog. If these out-of-state truckers are incapable of operating vehicles safely in late July, how well will they be able to navigate in environmental conditions with which they are completely unfamiliar?
How long until the first tragic collision of a fracking truck with a school bus?
UPDATE, 12/28/2011: A suit has finally been filed. No word of criminal charges.
Drilling company faces suit in fatal crash - News - The Times-Tribune
Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/drilling-company-faces-suit-in-fatal-crash-1.1248656#ixzz1hrNqMnxF
And from the comments to this article:
Here in Troy, PA we have a running list of people killed and people maimed by gas drillers drivers. My best friends daughter has been in physical theropy for over a year after being broadsided and shoved down a country road. The gas men use a lot of dope to stay awake on the long hours and other drugs to amuse themselves while waiting for loads in isolated places according to a conversation I was forced to over-hear in the Edgewood Restaurant.A young and very high driver from a Talisman site was upset because an older driver was trying to get him to stop smoking pot in the tanker truck. The younger mans justifacation was that, "Well everyone is bored and everyone is doing it". When the older man realized I was listening to the, very loud, young man and he wasn't going to stop, the older gentleman got up and left.