Florida -- The driver of a tractor trailer that flipped over on Route 2 last Wednesday is facing charges and an indefinite loss of his drivers license, State Police said.
State Trooper Dave McKearney of the Cheshire barracks said 51 year old Clement Leslie of Vineland, N.J. is facing charges of operating to endanger, failure to stay in marked lanes, and speeding.
"The statement the driver gave to me was that as he went into the turn, the truck was going too fast," McKearney said, adding the State Police Accident Reconstruction Team is still investigating.
Though initial reports said the truck lost its breaks on the steep descent to Dead Man's Curve, McKearney said the truck had no safety issues that could have contributed to the accident.
McKearney said while no date had been scheduled, Leslie's arraignment would most likely take place at Berkshire Medical Center, where Leslie has been since the accident and as of press time was listed in stable condition.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on April 10, a truck driven by Leslie hit the guardrail at the infamous S-curve a mile east of South County Road and flipped onto its side. Emergency responders extricated Leslie from the cab and transported him to Berkshire Medical Center.
The accident caused a large amount of the trailer's load of calcium carbonate, a substance used in agricultural lime and antacids, to spill on the embankment adjacent to the Cold River.
McKearney said Leslie failed to contact his employer following the accident to arrange a post-accident drug and alcohol test required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers of commercial vehicles are required to be tested for alcohol within eight hours of an accident and within 32 for drugs, he said.
In addition, Leslie was in violation of a FMCSA rule stating commercial drivers may not drive after 14 hours of coming on duty. Leslie began work at 12:30 a.m., McKearney said, meaning he reached the 14 limit at 2:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Mike Verseckes said the department's cleanup crew, and an additional contractor hired by the trucking company that employs Leslie, were still recovering the spilled material.
"In small doses, it isn't a hazardous material," Verseckes said. "It appears that it won't have any significant impact on the river or wildlife."
Dead Man's Curve has seen many accidents throughout the years, McKearney said, most often due to drivers not paying attention to signs.
"It's been several years since we've had an accident there," McKearney said. "They're usually very serious and fatal accidents when trucks crash at that corner."
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