National Grid Manager Behind The Wheel In Deadly Crash

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Tonight, there are serious questions about a deadly crash. Investigators are now trying to figure out why a potentially dangerous dump truck — that may have been recalled — was on a busy highway.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says the matter has been referred to the district attorney’s office for possible criminal charges.

It happened Friday afternoon on busy I-495. A backhoe being towed by a National Grid truck flipped off a trailer and landed on a mini van killing an elderly Westford woman and seriously injuring another woman.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

Sources tell WBZ it was not a union member but a rather a manager from National Grid who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. National Grid said it was conducting a truck safety test after union members raised concerns. Robert Mahoney, a national representative for the Utility Workers of America, tells WBZ, National Grid told some Union members two weeks ago not to drive those particular trucks.

Monday morning in a memo to employees obtained by WBZ, National Grid banned further use of similar trucks saying “…as a precaution, we have removed from operation dump trucks of the same model/year as the one involved in the accident pending the results of our investigation.”

Witnesses on Friday told WBZ the six wheel truck began fish tailing across the highway ejecting the backhoe.

WBZ has confirmed this truck may be part of a safety recall by the federal government. A memo from the trucks manufacturer to the federal government in July 2009 says:

“A failed steering shaft could cause a loss of vehicle control and a crash may occur.”

It is unclear tonight whether the National Grid truck was actually one of those recalled. However the state police said today…“we will look at all potential contributing factors… and the decision to conduct a safety test on the truck at that time and place.”

Relatives of the Westford woman who died in the crash have not issued any kind of statement choosing not to talk to reporters today.

A spokesperson for National Grid refused comment today while the investigation is on going. WBZ has been told by multiple sources that this particular truck was equipped with a video camera suggesting there is a very strong possibility that the crash itself is on tape, as well as audio of the National Grid manager who was behind the wheel. And union members are also saying that it is very unusual for a manager to actually be driving one of these six wheel trucks.

  • 1stackmack

    freightliner trucks use to make good trucks in the 50’s through the early 90’s.these days there built on a budget like everything else.and these government type companies order these units with on reinforsements to run dump bodys and pull heavy loads.with the feds requiring all electronic sencers on everything.trucks aren’t the same now..

  • Mark Oram

    I suggest you consider the family that is mourning their loss of a family member before trying to conduct an interview. I thought this was in bad taste and was a disgrace.

  • The_Wrench

    And again the plot thickens …..National Grid says it was a manager driving the vehicle.. The question arises ” Why is an unqualified person behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle ?” National Grid says the manager was conducting a safety test, ” Is that manager a qualified mechanic ? ” Does office work qualify him to overrule shop mechanics ? Even a first year ROOKIE knows you don’t take a ride in a vehicle with KNOWN ISSUES !!! That test could have easily been done in the shop. There was NO REASON to take that vehicle out of the yard, least put it on the highway..
    I’ll ask the question again.. “Why was he pulling a trailer with a load on it ? Any mechanic would know that adding a load ( to a vehicle with problems ) will make the problems a lot worse..
    Sounds like the manager was trying to deliver the load to the jobsite because the
    mechanics refused.

  • PB87

    When did it become the norm for grieving people to hire PR firms? Let them mourn in private, please.

  • Jeff Mungovan

    @ Mark Oram, Read the story again. The point that is trying to be made is as follows. The Truck that was being utilized, May have been on a reccall list.. That means said Truck and Pinnile hitch trailor should not have been on the road, Untill it was fixed. Also, I’m willing to bit the driver never did a tre-trip inspection that day.


  • Ajay

    I love the way that the company and the union want to focus the blame on the truck. From what I’ve seen so far, there’s nothing wrong with the truck. Could it be that someone didn’t bother to secure the backhoe properly before leaving?

  • njuguna muigai

    I do understand that before one get behind the wheel[steering] he/she must do what is known trip inspection determine if the vehicle is safe for driving then fill in the log book. Why was truck being tested on it safety on the highway? What about the hooking brackets did they came off?

  • Truck Driver’s License Suspended After Fatal 495 Crash In Southboro « CBS Boston

    […] Related tags backhoe, Crash, Dump Truck, Jeffrey Fisher, National Grid, Route 495, Southboro var addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"templates":{"twitter":"{{title}} {{url}}"}};}BOSTON (CBS) – The Registry of Motor Vehicles has suspended the driver’s license of Jeffrey Fisher, the National Grid manager involved in a deadly crash on Route 495 in Southboro last week. […]

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