Million dollars hits the road By Chuck Bodiford Circulation Manager
Published 7:27 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Two owner operators, Donald R. Peters and Harold Whitaker, were starting a busy day as they were preparing to merge onto I-65 from Highway 21 at the Atmore ramp. Whitaker, whose tractor-trailer led the two trucks, looked into his side mirror, only to see Peters' tractor-trailer roll over onto the outside shoulder of the on ramp. This was the accident scene Alabama State Trooper Thomas Davis responded to early Thursday morning.
Peters stated he was delivering cargo valued at more than $ 1 million. He was attempting to merge onto I-65 from the ramp to head toward Deweyville, Texas, the cargo's destination. According to Whitaker, who witnessed the accident from his tractor-trailer, Peters caught the inside curb of the intersection while attempting to make his turn.
Further investigation by Davis determined Peters was not at fault for the accident. Instead, he said the way the van-type trailer was preloaded was to blame. Security seals prevent drivers not only from tampering with a load, but also prevent the driver from verifying that the cargo was loaded correctly. As Peters went around the curve, his cargo, which was top-heavy, shifted and all the weight was thrown to the trailer's right rear end.
Davis confirmed that Peters was not speeding while performing the turn. Davis also stated that if Peters was not driving as slowly as he was, his tractor-trailer would have probably rolled down the hill near the ramp causing more damage than what was caused.
As of Friday Peters planned to have x-rays made because of to injuries received in the accident.
No tickets were issued in the accident.