Driver, company investigated after fatal truck crash in Connecticut

| 8/3/2005

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has ordered an inspection of a violation-plagued trucking company whose dump truck was involved in a crash that killed four people last week.

On Friday, July 29, a 12-wheeled dump truck owned by American Crushing and Recycling careened down Route 44 in Avon, CT, slamming into cars waiting at the intersection with Route 10. Four people were killed, including the truck’s driver, Abdulraheem Naafi, also known as Terrance R. Stokes.

Investigators said they have not yet determined what caused Naafi to hit the other vehicles. However, Department of Transportation records show that inspectors had found five brake violations on the truck during inspections in the past. All of the problems were corrected, according to Newsday. Investigators also found what they initially thought to be part of the truck’s braking mechanism scattered near the accident scene, but later determined them to be clutch and transmission parts.

The company that owned the truck also had 448 mechanical violations between 1994 and 2001 when it was operating as Wilcox Trucking. The company changed names after the state Department of Motor Vehicles suspended the registrations of 16 of the company’s trucks after they failed to comply with a number of repair orders, a DMV spokesperson told Newsday.

Naafi’s own history is also being questioned in the investigation. The accident occurred just two days after he began working for American Crushing and Recycling – the day after he was fired from another trucking company partially because he could not operate the truck’s transmission, Newsday reported.

Under a third, unreleased name, Naafi had a criminal record that included a robbery conviction.

Besides inspecting American Crushing and Recycling, the governor has also ordered inspections of the 25 trucking companies in the state with the most violations on record.