Concrete Truck rollover – driver cited “driver inexperience”

PORTSMOUTH – Police cited “driver inexperience” as a possible factor in an accident Monday afternoon that involved a concrete mixing truck rolling over on Market Street.

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Police and firefighters responded to Market Street shortly after 3 p.m. to investigate a rollover involving a large commercial concrete truck just off the Exit 7 northbound off-ramp from Interstate 95.

The truck from MacLellan Concrete Co., which had a 12-yard barrel for concrete mixing, rolled over onto its driver’s side in the left lane of Market Street heading toward downtown. Police Capt. Frank Warchol said it appeared the truck was coming from the Exit 7 off-ramp and turning onto Market Street when the weight of its load shifted, causing the truck to roll over.

“It’s easy for them to tip over,” Warchol said, “because it’s a fairly high center of gravity.”

Fire Capt. Ken Smith said the truck was carrying 5 yards of cement, which is one of the ingredients needed to mix concrete. None of the cement spilled from the truck, although water used to mix concrete did leak out onto the roadway, he said.

Smith noted that diesel fuel and engine oil were also leaking from the vehicle and fire crews worked to contain the spill. Firefighters were seen spreading Oil-Dri absorbent material around the accident scene.

The driver, whom police identified as Eric Fay, 36, of Haverhill, Mass., was able to crawl out of the truck and was seen walking around and talking with authorities.

He declined to comment to a reporter, except to say the truck rolled over very slowly.

National Wrecker Service responded to the scene, as did Coady’s Towing of Lawrence, Mass. A lengthy process ensued as crews pumped the remaining fuel out of the truck as part of a process to prepare it to be uprighted.

By about 4:30 p.m., National Wrecker had gotten the truck back onto its tires by hoisting it upright using a 75-ton rotating wrecker with an arm that resembled a crane.

A portion of Market Street from the Exit 7 area to the USS Albacore submarine museum was shut down for a period of time to complete the operation. Warchol said the road reopened completely shortly after 6 p.m.

Portsmouth police are handling the investigation, but State Police also responded to look into the commercial vehicle aspect of the incident. State police Sgt. Mike McQuade said investigators would be looking to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, including checking for any mechanical issues or driver errors.

Warchol said driver inexperience may have been a factor in the crash. He did not anticipate police filing any charges against the driver.

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