A woman died after getting crushed and trapped in her car by an overturned dump truck in Caroline County, Virginia (VA). The fatal August 18, 2015, crash began as a head-on collision that occurred on State Route 639/Lady Smith Road, near the intersection with State Route 738/Anderson Mill Road.
Surveillance video from a nearby convenience store shows the Mack truck driver losing control while rounding a curve and crossing a set of double yellow lines before colliding with the deceased woman’s car. Police believe the trucker was speeding and have charged him with reckless driving. He escaped injury in the crash.
The hopper of the dump truck was loaded with tree stumps and large tree limbs. It is unclear if the cut timber was unsecured and possibly contributed to causing the fatal rollover by shifting in transit. Going too fast for road conditions or exceeding the posted speed limit for the curve could by itself explain the loss of control and driving left of center, however.
Safely operating a construction vehicle or commercial truck requires caution and constant attention. Minor mistakes and momentary lapses in focus that would be easily corrected while behind the wheel of a car can easily create dangerous situations when one is operating a vehicle that sits six or more feet above the pavement and weighs 15 tons or greater. High-profile, heavily loaded dump trucks are especially prone to overturning when their drivers need to adjust their steering or reduce their speed quickly. This tragic, and likely avoidable, loss of life northeast of Richmond illustrates those truths too well.