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State gets $1.3M settlement in 2017 I-465 bridge damage

Attorney General sued over repairs to bridge
Posted at 10:50 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 20:24:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Attorney General’s office has obtained a $1.3 million civil settlement in the January 2017 truck crash that damaged the Rockville Road Bridge overpass on I-465.

Following that incident, Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a civil complaint against driver Brian Cheek, Twins Trucking LLC, Twins Crushing LLC, OmniSource Transport LLC and OmniSource Corp.

Call 6 Investigates reported in 2017 that Twins Trucking was cited with 11 different violations.

PREVIOUS | Trucking company cited following I-465 bridge crash

Cheek, while employed by Twins, was hauling a car crusher owned by OmniSource on I-465 when the car crusher activated — causing the crash into the Rockville Road Bridge overpass.

The collision caused substantial damage to the bridge and required an immediate response by the Indiana Department of Transportation to make necessary repairs at great expense to taxpayers, according to the attorney general’s office.

The state's settlement is with Twins Trucking LLC and Twins Crushing LLC and accounts for more than 90% of the total damages incurred as a result of the incident.

“It is important that Indiana taxpayers not be responsible for damages caused to public highways due to the negligent actions of others,” Hill said. “This settlement is a solid resolution that assists in making the State of Indiana whole while illustrating that those who commit negligent acts will be held accountable for their actions.”

PREVIOUS | Car crusher hits, damages overpass on I-465 NB

After the crash, Indiana State Police conducted an inspection of the truck and issued 11 different violations to the company, including failure to prevent cargo shifting and a dimension violation (width/height/length), records show.

A flat bed trailer was traveling northbound when the hydraulic arm on the car crusher extended upward, striking the overpass support beams of the Rockville Road bridge.

Police issued other violations that came as a result of the crash, such as a cracked frame and inoperative brakes.

The violations can be publicly viewed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.

“This is something insurance companies can view, potential customers, as well as state and federal inspectors,” said Indiana State Police F/Sgt. Ty Utterback. “We use this type of information when determining whether to perform road inspections on trucks.”

The owner of Twins Trucking, Tom Halcomb, declined to answer questions from Call 6 Investigates about the company’s safety record in January.

"I sincerely apologize. It was a mechanical failure and I've been advised not to say anything," Halcomb said earlier this year.

Call 6 Investigates found that Twins Trucking has a satisfactory safety rating with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2009, which typically means they meet safety standards.

Despite its safety rating, federal inspectors cited Twins Trucking with five unsafe driving violations -- including following too close and speeding -- over the past two years.

Prior to the 2017 crash, federal records show the company has had five different crashes since December 2014, including two in which someone was injured.

Records also show the U.S. Department of Transportation fined the company $4,450 in 2015 for not systematically inspecting, repairing or maintaining its vehicles and equipment. They were also fined $3,590 in 2016 for an issue related to return-to-duty testing.

CALL 6 | Trucking company involved in NB I-465 overpass crash had been fined, cited by feds

In March 2016, the feds cited the company for a truck tractor that was leaking, spilling, blowing, or had falling cargo.

"It is the truck driver and the carrier who are responsible for ensuring the load is fully compliant with cargo securement safety regulations," said Duane DeBruyne, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman.

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