Texas trucker tears trailer roof in Manhattan tunnel

| 6/4/2007

A Texas trucker unwittingly made headlines after destroying his company trailer by dragging it a mile and a half through New York’s Lincoln Tunnel.

According to the New York Times, Giberto Cantu was hauling plumbing fixtures and toilets from Weehawken, NJ, toward Manhattan on Thursday, May 31, when his 13.5-foot-tall trailer met the 13-foot high central vein of New York’s three-chamber Lincoln Tunnel.

Cantu didn’t stop until he was out of the tunnel, and news photos showed the trailer’s top ripped off like a metal can.

An electronic sensor is tripped when vehicles too tall for the tunnel approach it, but Cantu ignored several stoplights and police officers using loudspeakers to tell him to stop, the Times reported.

Trucks that are too tall are turned back once a week, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Spokesman Steve Coleman told the Times.

Cantu told the Times he “didn’t know where he was going.”

Cantu is an employee of U.S.A. Logistics Carriers of McAllen, TX. The company’s Web site says the company was founded to serve “the specific needs of the maquila industry that is fast emerging along the United States/Mexico border,” and boasts of GPS devices that allow shipping customers to view their product’s trailer by satellite photos triggered every 30 minutes.

A company spokesman told the Times Cantu had driven for U.S. A. Logistics for four years and had a clean safety record.

“This is going to cost us and it’s going to cost him,” said Roy Guzman, the company’s safety director.

Cantu was issued nine misdemeanor moving violations in the accident, including reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic signal and failure to obey an officer’s command, according to the Times.