Sand Truck Flips, Driver Fired For Using Alternate Routeby Jana Ritter - Published: 11/26/2014
Florida truck driver, Raul Castaneda, was delivering 21 tons of sand for a Naples County beach replenishment project on Tuesday morning when he blew a tire and the truck flipped over, filling both lanes of traffic with sand. While he only suffered minor injuries, he was cited for careless driving and his employers Phillips and Jordan have decided to fire Castaneda for not using the project’s approved route.
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According to deputies, the truck driver had veered over to the right by about four feet and tried to correct the truck's position but instead caused the load to shift, which then caused the truck to flip over, spilling the load of sand and closing Corkscrew Road to all traffic.
Susan Lindenmuth with Estero Fire further explains. "Whether the vehicle shifts or changes lanes to quickly the wheel is jerked one way or the other load can shift and it can cause that truck to tip over. These are professional drivers they are very good at what they do but the loads that they are carrying in these trucks they can't stop on a dime," she said.
The cleanup effort took about four hours as drivers had to find alternate routes. Officials also say that a portion of the roadway will likely have to be repaved because the truck also spilled diesel fuel, which can erode the asphalt.
While its still being investigated what exactly caused the truck to flip, the trucking company said that Castaneda was fired because of where he was. Although trucks are allowed on Corkscrew Road, they are supposed to turn north onto Alico Road for safety reasons and whether or not Castaneda knew that, he did not take the allotted route for his designated truck.
Phillips and Jordan also added that while they have always been spot monitoring their drivers, this accident has made them realize that they need to step it up and start continuous monitoring of the roadways to better ensure drivers are following the designated path. Apparently the company has had to fire a “couple of other drivers” from the $2.7 million sand-hauling job for being on unauthorized routes.
One Bella Terra resident, Sharon Safron, said that she sees dump trucks with the Phillips and Jordan signs marked as sand haul trucks every day on the unauthorized stretch of Corkscrew. “We consider it a huge hazard and something that needs to be corrected,” she said.
Do you think the company was in the right to fire the driver when this seems to be a recurring incident with many of their drivers using this route?