Grist Mill Fire Crash Not Caused by Speeding, Police Say

Chiquita Fresh North America is cited with "fail to prevent cargo from shifting."

The  and state police departments have concluded that the driver of the truck that overturned last month and caused  that severely damaged the historic  was not speeding. 

"Investigators determined there was no evidence that the operator of the tractor trailer unit was speeding or otherwise operating impaired," states a press release from the Seekonk police that was issued Thursday afternoon. "The investigating state trooper determined that there had been a failure to prevent cargo shifting due to no spacers between pallets and walls over 1.6 feet of space inside the shipping container."  

The release continues, "The container was on the trailer. The container was not the property of the trucking company nor had it been packed by the trucking company."

Chiquita Fresh North America LLC of Cincinnati was cited by state police with "fail to prevent cargo from shifting," according to the release. The truck was carrying bananas. 

The fire started shortly before 6 a.m. on June 24 after the truck overturned and struck a gas main. The truck was passing through a y-shaped intersection on Fall River Avenue (Route 114A) that the state has determined to be

Local and state officials have accused Columba Gas of taking too long to turn off the gas service to the building during the fire. Company officials were supposed to appear at the Board of Selectmen meeting Wednesday night, but  for an undisclosed reason.

Approximately 70 percent of the Grist Mill building, which has stood since the mid-18th century (with modifications including a reconstruction following a 1957 fire), was not destroyed in the fire, . He plans to rebuild the restaurant. A Zoning Board of Appeals hearing regarding variances for the reconstruction project is scheduled to take place Monday.

Emcee of Seekonk July 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Good news for locals (truck company and driver). Bad news for Chiquita. They probably have deeper pockets, anyway.
Mark Stanton July 12, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I completely disagree with you Robert. The facts speak for themselves, you are speculating, which doesn't hold up in any court of law. The driver did not pack the truck nor was he responsible for their contents. He broke no laws! Plain and simple. That's the end! The driver, according to current laws, was not responsible for that accident. You can whine all you like about how you would have done it differently, but you are wrong. Res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself. The driver acted reasonable, his did not breech his duty of care, therefore since there was no causation in fact, and no contributory negligence. The accident was not cause by his neglect, end of story!
paul July 12, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Nothing wrong with that intersection, but is does get slippery when you put a truck load of bananas on the road! The Grist Mill owners hit the jackpot with this report!
Joyce Leven July 12, 2012 at 09:33 PM
If I remember correctly from your previous posts on this subject, you were to apologize, Robert P, if the report found that the driver was not responsible. Seekonk and State Police have deemed this so based on evidence to which you have no knowledge of or access to, unless you have somehow acquired it based on the principles of osmosis. Let it go. Thankfully, no one was hurt. I am truly sorry for every employee at the Grist Mill, but I am grateful they were home when this happened. Let's focus our efforts by supporting the Grist Mill family with rebuilding and doing what we can to get it back on the map.
paul July 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM
You said it all Joyce! Does anyone know when the new Chiquita Mill Tavern opens?
Just the Facts July 13, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The load he was carrying came in an itermodal container loaded and sealed in another country. Only allowed to be opened by the purchaser or Law Enforcement. Again, you're wrong and it has been confirmed by State/Local Police. From somebody who reponded to the scene within minutes of the crash, even a middle school student could tell speed was not a factor just by the position of the truck. If speed was a factor the truck would have piled headlong into the building. Contrary to your cockeyed theory the truck tipped to the right within it's height only taking out a 4' section of stockade fence. Unfortunantly the slave utility pole was collected during the tip and fell on the gas meter. Now run along and make like you know what you're talking about somewhere else.
Just the Facts July 13, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Wouldn't it be so much easier for the Police to just nail the driver to a cross than to actually investigate the cause? Fortunantly for everybody involved (unlike you) they don't jump to conclusions. They actually do their jobs and investigate the cause and determine what happened. Like I said before, plane crashes must always be caused by pilot error too, right? I think the rest of the readers would agree the only thing "Lame" here is is your skewed theories.
deb of see-attleboro July 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I know nothing about the trucking industry. But based on what I have read so far, I guess it is not the driver's responsibility to pack or examine the cargo that he/she is assigned. If this is the case, the driver is no more responsible for securing and packing than he is responsible for brakes or motors.
Just the Facts July 13, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Deb, As a driver you are responsible for the condition/safe operation of your truck. Tires,brakes,lights,chocks,extinguisher,reflective road markers.log book. Many drivers are involved in the loading/unloading of their truck. Some drivers do "drop/hook". This is where the driver drops one trailer and hooks up to another. In this instance the load was prepaired by someone else. Even if the doors are not sealed for security reasons. The driver can not see or get to the entire load to inspect it. In this case the container is the type that is transported by ship from overseas. The container was already loaded when the driver hooked up to it and most likely sealed to prevent tampering. Therefore unable to be even viewed by the driver. He would only have the manifest/bill of lading to go by as far as the amt./type of cargo. So where the driver is responsible for most aspects of his truck/trailer and their condition. Some instances do not afford him the luxury of inspecting the quality of the loading/securing of the cargo.
paul July 14, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Take it easy tough guy people get laid off and fired every day. In the long run it's just a job and thank God no one got killed. On some hauls when a driver picks up an over the road load, the container is sealed to prevent theft. On these types of runs the driver does not load or pack the container and is not libel. This is not the age of zero responsibility, it's the other way around, the cops always find someone to blame and this time it was the dockboy from Chiquita. Admit you were wrong!
deb of see-attleboro July 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Ty for the education, JTF Yes. Of course the driver shares in the responsibility for the safety of the vehicle. I would think this is only to make sure all routine maintenance is performed and any malfunctions are addressed. If the mechanic fails to properly connect a brake line, this would not be the driver's fault, would it? (I'm not a mechanic, but I think you know what I mean) My point was that the driver may be no more responsible for a load shift as he would be for failed brakes or a manufacturer's defect in the truck. Robert sees this differently. But if what you have written is correct, he may want to reconsider his opinion and lighten up on the driver.
Just the Facts July 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Thats what you come back with? Really? So when you blow a tire and veer off the road into a bus stop full of children, you would be completly accepting of the responsibility? You as the operator are responsible for everything and everyone in your vehicle. Right? It wouldn't be a tragic case of a bad thing @ a bad time? You truly are ignorant as your posts.
concerned citizen July 17, 2012 at 01:08 AM
How can anyone say there is nothing wrong with that intersection? It is deemed one of the most dangerous! I know first hand how dangerous it is, I was struck by a car who was trying to cross over from 114 to Mill Road as I traveled straight from 114 to Arcade. The town and the state need to take some responsibility for not addressing and correcting the intersection. It remains a disaster waiting to happen even after this tragedy. That intersection makes me cringe!!!
sarah issa August 10, 2012 at 02:47 AM


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