Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Horses injured slightly in wreck Trailer flips on I-25 ramp

Horses injured slightly in wreck Trailer flips on I-25 ramp

Passers-by, an off-duty SWAT officer and a veterinarian aided police and firefighters in helping horses riding in a trailer that rolled on a highway exit ramp Monday.

The crash happened about 6:45 p.m. on the Rockrimmon Boulevard exit ramp off southbound Interstate 25. Darla Brammeier, 38, was driving a Chevrolet Suburban and towing a trailer with five horses.

"She was driving too fast to make the turn, the trailer separated from the Suburban and flipped over," said Sgt. Dick Reisler of the Colorado Springs police.

Four horses got loose, and one was briefly trapped before being freed by Colorado Springs firefighters.

None of the horses was badly hurt.

Motorists pulled over and led the shaken horses to a grassy area near an office building northwest of the freeway to graze and calm down, Reisler said.

"Imagine the mess if those horses had made it out to the interstate," Reisler said. "We're grateful to those people. The horses were spooked and shook up."

Police called in off-duty officer Robin McPike, a SWAT officer who is also a horseman, to help with the rescue. He called Jim Mahan of Academy Riding Stables and Richard Marciniak of Black Forest to bring trailers and find boarding for the horses.

Veterinarian Lise Andersen, of the Rocky Mountain Equine Clinic in Monument, volunteered to examine the horses.

"There were no vital injuries," Andersen said. "The horses did very well."

She treated one horse for a cut above its eye and gave them tetanus shots. Two of the horses are yearlings, one is a mare with a young colt, and the fifth is a stallion about 4 years old.

"They were just nicks and scratch- es," Andersen said. "It could have been horribly worse."

Reisler said the trailer may have been too small for five horses, but that probably helped prevent worse injuries.

Brammeier, of northern Colorado, told officers she was on her way to Arizona.

She was cited for allegedly driving without a valid license or insurance and careless driving.

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0110 or dhuspeni@gazette.com

Runaway trailer hits pickup, kills driver

Runaway trailer hits pickup, kills driver.(Accidents)

Byline: The Register-Guard

ROSEBURG - An off-duty Douglas County sheriff's deputy was killed Wednesday night on Highway 42 when his pickup was struck by a trailer that had come loose from the vehicle towing it.

Dallas Wesley Butler, 43, of Roseburg was pronounced dead at the scene of the 7:15 p.m. crash west of Camas Valley. Butler's pickup was headed east on the highway when a loaded chip trailer towed by a westbound Freightliner truck detached and crashed into the pickup, Oregon State Police investigators said.

Butler's two sons, ages 12 and 10, were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. Butler had been an employee of the sheriff's department since 1999.

The crash remains under investigation. No citations have been issued, police said.

Suit claims negligence caused father's death in trailer-SUV crash

Suit claims negligence caused father's death in trailer-SUV crash

The accident is one of the worst Todd Hilton has seen during his legal career.

A runaway flatbed trailer that had become separated from the truck that was pulling it sliced through Charles Lewis' Ford Explorer on U.S. Highway 50, causing his horrific death and leaving a path of destruction.

"This was about as bad as an entangled mess that I have seen," Hilton said "And that includes doing railroad litigation."

Now Lewis' two daughters, Robin Dayton and Dana Hughes, are suing the vehicle's driver and his employer, claiming their negligence caused their father's death on Jan. 4. Patrick Stueve and Hilton, both of Stueve Siegel Hanson Woody, are representing Dayton and Hughes in their lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month and seeks unspecified damages.

"We believe the evidence will show that Mr. Lewis' death would not have occurred if defendants had followed any of the industry safety standards governing the safe and proper use of commercial trailers," Stueve said.

According to the accident report by the Lee's Summit Police Department, the 59-year-old Lewis was in the left lane on eastbound Highway 50 near Chipman Road. In the right westbound lane, Steven Berryman, an employee of Door Systems in Lee's Summit, was pulling the trailer when it separated from the 2001 GMC Sierra pickup and entered the grass median.

The empty trailer continued through the median, which did not have a protective barrier, and entered the eastbound lanes, according to the accident report.

Hilton said the trailer carried most of its weight in the rear, which caused its tongue in the front to rise up. It struck Lewis' 1999 Ford Explorer near the side-view mirror on the driver's side.

The trailer ripped through the vehicle, decapitated Lewis, who was not wearing his seat belt, and left his body in the back seat, according to the accident report. After striking a semi traveling next to Lewis, the trailer was projected back across the westbound lanes and came to a rest.

Hilton said the trailer, which was homemade, was not properly attached to the truck driven by Berryman.

"There were numerous problems," he said. "It was not staying on the truck for very long because the receiver was too large for the ball it was attached to."

An investigation by the Lee's Summit Police Department reported that the trailer hitch was made for a 2 5/16 inch ball, but the Door Systems' truck had a 2-inch ball.

Additionally, the report includes that the locking mechanism on the hitch was partially missing, and there were no signs of a cable connecting the emergency electric brake.

Jim Foland, who represents Door Systems and Berryman, said he was in the process of reviewing evidence and getting experts to reconstruct the accident. The defendants, who also include Door Systems owners and the trailer's manufacturers and owners, have until early December to file an answer.

Foland, of Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, called the accident a tragedy and said he had been talking to the plaintiffs in hopes of reaching a possible settlement.

"It's amazing how bizarre these (accidents) can be," Foland said. "The trailer just simply came off and went across the median. It was a classic wrong place, wrong time for the descendent."

The plaintiffs have already hired Richard H. Klein as an expert witness. Klein, of Johnson, N.Y., is experienced in trailer design and a leading engineering consultant for U-Haul, according to Hilton.

"This is a guy, who obviously when folks that are dealing with trailers in the country, when they want to know what's going on, this is who they turn to," Hilton said.