Victim’s family sues Maine trucking company for ‘wrongful death’

| 8/6/2008

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against a trucking company in Mars Hill, ME, alleges that the company has routinely engaged in unsafe and illegal practices.

Glenn Shumate, 68, was killed Jan. 23 when his pickup was hit head-on by a tractor-trailer on state Highway 89 in North Carolina.

According to the lawsuit, the semi had lost its brakes, was 37,000 pounds overweight, and was sent on the two-lane Highway 89 route to avoid a weigh station on nearby Interstate 77.

The suit also alleges that B&J Transportation trucks were involved in three fatal accidents in the seven months preceding Shumate’s death. The company also received an unsatisfactory safety rating following a federal compliance review in January 2007, and in late 2007 was prohibited from engaging in interstate commerce.

The Mount Airy News reported that in April 2007, it was found that two of the company’s truckers had knowingly driven a commercial vehicle after being placed out of service by law enforcement officials. One of those had seven outstanding suspensions of his operator’s license.

In the one-year period from April 2007 to April 2008, 213 equipment violations were logged for such reasons as out-of-adjustment brakes and steering, tire, lighting and load-securement issues.

B&J operates about 280 trucks. Company officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.