Deadly Week for Dump Truck Drivers

by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/29/2014

Two truck drivers; each driving a dump truck were killed Wednesday after a fiery head-on collision near Mattawa, Washington. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said at about 9:30 am their deputies and other responders arrived at the scene at County Road O-Southwest and County Road 27-Southwest, about four miles southeast of Mattawa. There they found two dump trucks had collided and caught fire, killing both drivers instantly.

Dump crash

The sheriff’s office said investigators reported that a 2007 Peterbilt dump truck loaded with gravel and driven by Bruce Patnode, 53, of Yakima, was headed northbound on Road O-SW approaching Road 27-SW when it crossed the centerline and crashed head-on with a southbound 2000 Kenworth dump truck towing a dump trailer. The second truck was driven by Dale Peters, 45, of Selah. The sheriff’s office confirmed that both Patnode and Peters were ejected from their trucks and died at the scene. Both trucks had also burst into flames, almost immediately from the impact of the crash.

Next of kin have been notified and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office Motor Traffic Unit is investigating.

Just today another truck driver died in Rapid City South Dakota after his dump truck tipped to one side. Authorities say the incident occurred Thursday afternoon when the 74-year-old man raised the dump trailer that was filled with gravel and the load was too heavy, causing the truck to roll and fall onto a flat-bed trailer. The truck driver was transported to a local hospital where he was unfortunately pronounced dead. He has not been publicly identified pending notification of his family.

Fortunately last Friday’s dump truck incident turned out a lot better for the driver who was rescued after his dump truck ran off the southbound lanes of Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, and crashed into the bay. According to New Jersey State Police, a witness saw the construction dump truck lose control, hit the divider, and then careen off the bridge on the right. The dump truck plunged into the waters of the Great Egg Harbor bay below.

“His truck actually spun backwards like this, and hit the side of the bridge and it just flipped him right smack into the bay. It looked like a whale, actually, that’s how much of a splash it was. And then gone, we never saw the truck again,” witness, Mike Pagano said.

Thankfully, the truck landed right next to where crews were pulling apart the old Beesley’s Point Bridge and the quick actions of two construction workers (Jason Armbruster and Aaron Grace) saved the driver’s life.

You could see the guy in the window, like scratching at the window trying to get out. So I jumped in the water, and then Aaron — me and Aaron jumped in the water. I had a hammer, I smashed the window. I was trying to keep his face above water. But his face was like half in and half out of the water, so he couldn’t really breathe,” Armbruster said.