FMCSA places driver out of service as result of double-fatal crash

A Tennessee truck driver has been placed out of service following an investigation into an accident in which two people were killed.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last week declared Tennessee-licensed truck driver Randall J. Weddle, 53, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.  Weddle was served the federal order on June 22, 2016.

Two people died when a flatbed truck carrying lumber crashed. Photo by Knox County Sheriff’s Office

Weddle was arrested in Virginia in May and charged with two counts of manslaughter.

According to the FMCSA:

On March 18, Weddle was operating a large commercial truck for Tennessee-based R&E Logistics, Inc., At about 4:47 p.m., while traveling on Route 17 in Knox County, Maine, the trailer portion of Weddle’s rig crossed the centerline, tipped over, and began scattering its load of lumber across the roadway. At the time of the crash, Weddle’s truck was traveling approximately 80 miles-per-hour in a posted 55 miles-per-hour speed limit zone.  

As the truck and trailer and its load of lumber continued to slide down the roadway at a high rate of speed, a pick-up truck, an SUV, and a minivan, in turn, were struck.  The pick-up truck was crushed, killing its driver.  The collision with the SUV caused it to roll over once before it collided with another vehicle.  The minivan hit by Weddle’s truck was also partially buried under the lumber load; a fire ensued, engulfing the minivan.  The sole occupant of the minivan was killed.  Two additional crash victims were airlifted to the hospital.

A field sobriety test conducted on Weddle by Maine State Police at the scene of the crash detected the presence of alcohol.  State Police also found a bottle of whisky in Weddle’s truck. Investigators also discovered Weddle’s CDL had been revoked by the state of Virginia for a conviction of driving while intoxicated.

Investigators further found that Weddle was in violation of multiple federal hours-of-service regulations, and before departing on the March 18 trip, a family member joined Weddle as an unauthorized passenger, in violation of federal regulation.

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The FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Weddle states that his “ … blatant disregard of (federal safety regulations) and continued disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public.”  

Weddle also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.