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Old 05-06-2008, 05:04 AM   #1
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Cullman County, AL

Three road workers hurt in I-65 accident

By Trent Moore and Patrick McCreless
The Cullman Times

Vehicles struck three Arab men working with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Monday morning on Interstate 65.

ALDOT employee Joey Mallard, 21, was airlifted to the trauma and intensive care unit at UAB Hospital and fellow employees Michael Tolton and Tommy Conner, all of Arab, were sent to the Cullman Regional Medical Center emergency room. Tolton and Conner's ages were unknown as of press time.

The accident occurred less than a mile west of Cullman around 9:43 a.m.

According to state trooper reports, William Richards, 53, of Englewood, Tenn., was driving a 2000 Sarari RV and pulling a white pick-up truck in tow. The pick-up truck came loose and caused the accident. Richards was not injured.

A 2002 Honda driven by Florence resident Michael McDonald, 51, was also involved. McDonald was uninjured.

Lt. Brett Holmes of the Cullman County Sheriff's Office said sheriff's deputies helped work the crash scene for approximately 2 hours.

"Basically, when we initially responded, we helped out with traffic control," he said. "A deputy was first on the scene. He administered first aid until medical responders arrived."

Holmes said deputies worked with officers of the Cullman Police Department to reroute traffic at exit 308, which was near where the crash occurred.

"Cars between exits 304 and 308 were at a standstill," he said. "We rerouted through town."

Traffic may have been hectic, but Holmes said the rerouting went pretty smoothly.

"But all in all, considering the length of time it (I-65) was shut down, it went pretty well," he said.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:04 AM   #2
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Cullman County, AL

Three road workers hurt in I-65 accident

By Trent Moore and Patrick McCreless
The Cullman Times

Vehicles struck three Arab men working with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Monday morning on Interstate 65.

ALDOT employee Joey Mallard, 21, was airlifted to the trauma and intensive care unit at UAB Hospital and fellow employees Michael Tolton and Tommy Conner, all of Arab, were sent to the Cullman Regional Medical Center emergency room. Tolton and Conner's ages were unknown as of press time.

The accident occurred less than a mile west of Cullman around 9:43 a.m.

According to state trooper reports, William Richards, 53, of Englewood, Tenn., was driving a 2000 Sarari RV and pulling a white pick-up truck in tow. The pick-up truck came loose and caused the accident. Richards was not injured.

A 2002 Honda driven by Florence resident Michael McDonald, 51, was also involved. McDonald was uninjured.

Lt. Brett Holmes of the Cullman County Sheriff's Office said sheriff's deputies helped work the crash scene for approximately 2 hours.

"Basically, when we initially responded, we helped out with traffic control," he said. "A deputy was first on the scene. He administered first aid until medical responders arrived."

Holmes said deputies worked with officers of the Cullman Police Department to reroute traffic at exit 308, which was near where the crash occurred.

"Cars between exits 304 and 308 were at a standstill," he said. "We rerouted through town."

Traffic may have been hectic, but Holmes said the rerouting went pretty smoothly.

"But all in all, considering the length of time it (I-65) was shut down, it went pretty well," he said.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:27 AM   #3
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Thats gotta suck for those who were struck and for those involved in the accident. Wish they had more info to say how it happened or what exactly came loose.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:59 AM   #4
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I agree with Lee. I to would love to know what went wrong with his tow system. This is why I inspect the toad and hitch everytime we stop.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:16 AM   #5
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That is the reason to have brakes on the dinghy and a break away system on anything you tow. It is a wonder that there was not more damage.

Ken
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:43 AM   #6
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Amen to that. Sure does reinforce the pre-trip check out doesn't it? I know I will double check all my stuff.
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
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I'll try my best to shorten this
Mar'07 John had a front end collision that damaged the Blue Ox baseplate on our Ranger toad. Spoke with repair shop, owner was an experienced RVer, knowledgable of Blue Ox (or so he said). Truck fixed, new baseplate installed, all looked good.

First time towing with new baseplate, we headed to WV (from home in FL) in May , with frequent stops and walk-arounds, all looking good. 2nd night we stopped at a campground in NC, just off I-77. I walked up the hill to check out the site to see if we needed to un-hook (county park staffed by clueless kids ). As I came back, I caught a glimpse of the coach & toad that looked weird . Strange angle on the baseplate. When I got to the toad, I could not see it, and I couldn't describe it to John. It all looked fine, I couldn't see anything wrong, but I insisted he try to look underneath the truck. (I'm mechanically challenged, and he was recovering from his 3rd spinal surgery ). Sure enough, the bolts holding the baseplate in place were coming loose and one had less than a half turn left to go . We unhooked, John tightened the bolts, we said many prayers of gratitude, and started off next morning feeling fortunate to have been able to solve the problem, intending to check it more frequently, and making one other change.

Blue Ox instructions (and we had previously discussed this at a rally with Blue Ox reps) were to connect the safety cables to the appropriate holes on the baseplate. We were told NOT to attach them to the heavy duty tow rings that are on our Ranger 4x4. If our baseplate had, in fact, come off our toad, the safety cables would have come with it, and the toad would have been freewheeling on it's own (would have been a good test for the effectiveness of Brake Buddy, but I'm glad we still don't know if it would have worked well enough to avoid killing anyone). Needless to say, our safety cables are always now connected to the Ford tow rings that are connected to the frame of the truck.

Next morning we stopped after 100ft, 1 mile, 5 miles, 15 miles to check and all seemed well. Next rest area, bolts were again loosening significantly. Needless to say, we drove both vehicles the remaining 180 miles to our destination. Next day took Ranger into local body shop. This guy did know hitches, explained how the 1st guy installed the baseplate improperly, ordered some new parts, replaced it, even put a couple spot welds to make sure it wasn't coming loose again, and no problems since (but we do get down and look underneath now when we check).

When I think of the steep mountain curves along that route, and things that could have happened if we hadn't noticed that 'weird angle' of the baseplate that could only be seen from a distance and a certain angle, I just say "Thank You once again, Big Guy!"

Yep, sure would like to know more about the details of this unfortunate accident, but don't be too quick to assume he was being careless. And you might want to think about where your safety cables are attached.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Y'all be safe, now, ya hear!

Lois (& John) Miller
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:30 AM   #8
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Yours is a great point, Lois. The instructions with our Roadmaster setup say to check the baseplate bolts every 3K miles. While I'm sure that particular instruction is there as a result of legal reviews, I've gotten into the habit of following it. Taking the torque wrench with me when I crawl underneath for other maintenance and inspections is no big deal, I've found.

We are not fortunate enough to have tow rings on our Saturn's frame. Does anyone have any suggestions about the best place to attach the safety cables? I've been putting on the base plate bracket but have decided that just isn't a good idea any more.

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Old 05-08-2008, 06:52 AM   #9
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BlueOx now requires LOCTITE Red be used on all bolts.

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Old 05-08-2008, 11:57 AM   #10
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Yikes! As much as Dave & I check & double check each other as it pertains to hooking up our toad & braking system, I never thought about checking the baseplate under the Jeep.

Thanks for the "heads up" post. I'll now be adding BASEPLATE INSPECT to our checklist.

L-
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:58 PM   #11
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Because I'm curious, I contacted the Cullman Police Department for details, particularly a cause of this accident. They told me that the accident was investigated by the Decatur Post of the Alabama State Troopers and that only they would have any information. The only way to contact the State Troopers is by a phone number listed on the State's website. I just don't have time to do that now.

In addition to checking tightness of the baseplate, I'm also looking for cracks or other problems in the metal. Our toad is only 2,300lbs and I'm very careful about taking it as slowly as possible over any sort of bump that would stress the base plate. The metal is probably designed to handle a lot more weight but you just never know. I also check the hitch while I'm under the MH preforming maintenance. I lost the ball off of a receiver and ended up dragging a 3,400lb sailboat on the safety chains at 55mph. I vowed that I'd do everything that I could to prevent something like that from happening again.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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Okay . . . y'all are gonna make me look



Now I'm too wide to fit under that little Scion, so I'll have to break out the floor jack and jack stands -- but hey -- it's for safety's sake .



Thanks for a very important heads up!
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:41 PM   #13
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A few years ago my cousin and I were headed to Florida. We stopped for the night at a convenient CG. Just as we were checking in, a guy entered the office and inquired about a pull-thru site for his MH and towed. The counter guy asked "how long?" and walked to a window to look at the rig. He turned to the guy and said "were is your towed?". The MH guy turned ashen and bolted out the door. He returned about an hour later with his towed, he found it beside the highway about 10 miles back. The braking system had worked, stopping the towed car without damage. This was on a 2-lane highway, so luckily the lower speed helped.

I wonder how many years that took off his life?
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:56 AM   #14
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Man! You guys really got me thinking.

I'm kind of anal about checking my towbar and hitch at every stop but I have never crawled under to check the base plate mounting bolts. I used Locktite RED on all fastners but have never loked at them again. It's on my list of things to do today. Thanks everyone.
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