For the 18th time since a fatal 2006 crash in which an unsecured wood chipper broke loose from a truck and plowed into a minivan, police joined forces Wednesday to inspect vehicles pulling trailers and cite those that were unsafe.
The North Hills Regional Vehicle Inspection Task Force took eight trucks/trailers out of service for hazardous equipment violations, according to Northern Regional Police Officer Scott Rick.
The task force made 85 traffic stops for vehicle/truck and trailer violations on the Route 19 corridor from Pittsburgh to the Butler County border, according to Rick.
Officers issued 65 citations from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the enforcement detail.
Police created the task force in 2006 after the crash on Route 8 in Richland Township that killed a Cranberry Township father and two of his triplets.
Northern Regional Police Department coordinated the effort on behalf of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, which funded the operation, said Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann.
"The district attorney was very involved in the investigation when that family was killed," the chief said, referring to the 2006 crash. The driver of the truck pulling the wood chipper pleaded guilty to multiple charges in that case, including involuntary manslaughter. Click here for a story.
More than a dozen police departments participated in Wednesday's inspections, including Northern Regional, which serves Pine, Richland, Marshall and Bradford Woods; McCandless; Hampton Township; Fox Chapel; Franklin Park; Ohio Township; Indiana; West View; O’Hara; West Deer; Shaler; Etna; Millvale; Reserve and Ross.
After the commercial vehicle inspections, 36 vehicle and driver violations were noted with 11 citations issued for major violations.
Of the 65 citations:
5 were for driving under suspension and two of those were DUI related;
9 were for brake violations;
12 were for unsecured load violations;
11 were for trailer equipment violations;
2 were for driving while being put out of service ;
25 were for various vehicle code violations.
One person was arrested for an active warrant.
Since the task force was created five years ago, 1,167 traffic stops have been made with 234 commercial vehicle inspections completed. From that, 940 citations and 622 warnings have been issued, according to Rick.