Authorities say a truck driver who slammed into numerous stopped cars outside of Chattanooga, Tenn., last week, killing six, had been cited for careless driving in Florida the previous day.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report, 39-year-old truck driver Benjamin S. Brewer had sideswiped a truck while attempting to pass on June 24 in Wildwood, Florida, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. No one was hurt in the incident, and Brewer was issued a citation for careless driving.
The following day, Chattanooga police say Brewer’s semi-truck hit eight other vehicles that were stopped on Interstate 75 due to construction. Six people died in the crash and six others received non-life-threatening injuries.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said June 29 it’s too early to tell why Brewer failed to stop.
Brewer had driven at least 400 miles before the wreck near Chattanooga, according to Chattanooga Lt. Adrian Gibb. He declined to say how many hours Brewer had been on the clock, citing the ongoing investigation into the crash.
Police have not charged Brewer with any crimes, but Brewer will not be allowed to drive a truck until the crash investigation is closed.
While the police investigation is focused on Brewer, federal records show that the company he works for, Cool Runnings Express, has had problems with safety in the past.
On three occasions since 2013, roadside safety inspectors immediately shut down Cool Runnings Express’ trucks because of safety issues with the trucks’ brakes, according to federal records.
During the last 24 months, Cool Runnings Express failed three of eight vehicle inspections – 37 percent – and failed two of 14 driver inspections, or 14 percent, safety administration records show.
Cool Runnings Express owner Billy Sizemore declined to comment on the wreck, the newspaper reported. The company operates six trucks and employs nine drivers, according to the safety administration. Drivers haul meat, refrigerated food and fresh produce.
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