Tuesday, December 27, 2016

3 men killed, 5 injured after tractor-trailer trucks smash cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway

3 dead, 5 injured in multi-vehicle crash on the Cross Bronx Expressway

Three people were killed when a tractor-trailer slammed into their car in the Bronx.

Updated 4 mins ago
BRONX (WABC) -- Three men were killed in a crash on the Cross Bronx Expressway in the Bronx Tuesday morning.

Five other people were injured, two critically, in the multi-vehicle accident at Webster Avenue just after 6 a.m.

Two tractor-trailers and several cars were involved.

One of the tractor-trailers pushed a car onto the guardrail, killing three men inside the car.

The injured were taken to St. Barnabus Hospital.

The crash closed the eastbound lanes for the morning commute, causing major backups at the inbound George Washington Bridge.

Another accident was reported on the Cross Bronx at the Sheridan Expressway.

Traffic was backed up in both directions.

A fire heavily damaged a home in Concord Township, Delaware County, PA

Fire heavily damages home in Concord Twp.

Updated 23 mins ago
CONCORD TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A fire heavily damaged a home in Concord Township, Delaware County on Tuesday morning.

The fire was reported around 8 a.m. in the 800 block of Naamans Creek Road.

Firefighters arrived to find flames spreading from the second floor of the home.

The view from the Action Cam showed firefighters pouring water on the charred portion of the building.

There was no immediate word on any injuries.

A ShopRite tractor trailer crashed and burst into flames at a gas station in the Lawncrest section of Philadelphia

Truck crashes, catches fire at Lawncrest gas station

Updated 2 hrs ago
LAWNCREST (WPVI) -- A ShopRite tractor trailer burst into flames at a gas station in the Lawncrest section of Philadelphia.

It happened just before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 6300 block of Oxford Avenue near Levick Street.

Rescuers say the driver lost control and collided with an SUV.

The truck came to rest in the parking lot a gas station. Fire crews were able to access the emergency stop to halt the flow of gasoline.

The fire did not spread to the gas station.

Medics were tending to injured people on the scene, though the number and severity of injuries were not immediately known.

PECO has been called to the scene to shut off utility lines that came down due to the crash.

L&I was also summoned to the scene, along with the water department to deal with a fuel spill.

Christmas tree was the origin of a house fire in Orland Park, IL that burned down the home and sent one person to a hospital.

The aftermath of an Orland Park house fire that injured one person Monday. | Photo courtesy of Orland Fire Protection District

Mitchell Armentrout

Investigators think a Christmas tree might have been the source of a house fire in southwest suburban Orland Park that sent one person to a hospital.

Crews responded at 10:22 a.m. to the blaze in the 13800 block of 80th Avenue, according to Ray Hanania, a spokesman for the Orland Fire Protection District.

The homeowner was taken to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center, after trying to put out the flames that spread from the back of the house to a rear deck and garage, Hanania said.

It took firefighters less than an hour to put out the fire, which caused heavy damage to the home.

The cause is under investigation, but fire investigators think it started in or near a live Christmas tree inside, Hanania said.

The homeowner’s age and condition were not immediately available. The Red Cross was assisting other family members.

MIGRANT FARMWORKER LIVES DO NOT MATTER: Unsafe transport leads to death for migrant worker.

Unsafe transport leads to death for migrant workers

Updated Dec 25, 2016 at 1:40 AM

More than a dozen accidents have left at least 38 migrant workers dead and nearly 200 injured just since January 2015. The casualties included a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old, traveling with migrant worker parents. By The Associated Press

Jose Rangel Chavez and 18 other Mexican guest workers were dozing as their bus hurtled down Interstate 40 in a light rain. After nine months away from home, the 22-year-old was about to complete a meandering round trip of nearly 5,000 miles.

They were just north of Little Rock, Arkansas, about a half day's hard ride from the border, when the motor coach struck a concrete bridge support, peeling back the roof like a sardine can. Chavez and five others were killed; seven more workers were severely injured.

The crash in November 2015 was the result of chronic problems within an American agriculture industry dependent upon a reliable supply of low-wage, foreign-born workers. Chavez and the others were part of an annual mass migration made possible partly by a guarantee of free and safe transportation to and from the fields each day and, at season's end, back home to their loved ones.

But for many, that transportation is neither free nor safe.

It has been just over a half-century since the nation's worst fatal vehicle accident killed nearly three dozen migrants, a horror that farmworker advocates had hoped would bring lasting reforms. Yet, due to enforcement gaps and the sometimes callous attitudes of those who contract for the workers, laborers continue to ride in overloaded, poorly maintained, uninsured vehicles - often driven by a fellow crew member without a proper license, or with no license at all.

The Associated Press found more than a dozen accidents that left at least 38 dead and nearly 200 injured just since January 2015. The casualties included a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old, traveling with migrant worker parents.

Grim as it is, the AP's tally is almost certainly a significant undercount.

"I think there's more unregistered, improperly insured, unsafe transportation out there for farmworkers than ... 20 years ago," says attorney Greg Schell, deputy director of Southern Migrant Legal Services.

A big reason, he and others contend: Rarely are those who profit most from this cheap labor made to pay. Instead, it is the families of people like Jose Chavez who lose.

In exchange for tending the landowner's animals in their remote mountain village, the Chavez family got the use of a leaky wooden shack. Jose wanted more for his parents and siblings, so he signed on to do farm labor in the United States.

Of the 1.1 million farmworkers in the U.S., 71 percent are foreign-born, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly half of those acknowledge working here illegally.

Chavez's employer, Vasquez Citrus & Hauling of Lake Placid, Florida, is one of thousands taking part in the federal H-2A guest worker visa program. In addition to wages of $11.56 an hour, contractor Juan Vasquez would provide Chavez room, board and, crucially, a guarantee of free transportation from Mexico and back.

Whenever he could, Chavez dutifully wired money home. Then, on Nov. 6, 2015, tragedy struck.

Investigators allege that the bus wasn't registered with the Labor Department - meaning the company was not authorized to use it to transport workers. The driver did not have a commercial operator's license.

Schell, who's been working with the victims' families, says Vasquez should have had liability insurance of around $5 million, but that he carried only one-fifth that amount. The company's workers' compensation policy did not cover the journey home.

In the two years prior to the crash, Vasquez Citrus had been cited 22 times for alleged violations, from underage drivers to vehicles with worn tires, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Labor Department had cited Juan Vasquez for failure to provide safe vehicles back in 2007, but issued no fines.

Lori Flores, a professor at Stony Brook University, calls the regulatory apparatus "an honor system."

"And it's only when accidents ... happen that agencies might get involved," she says. "But then it's way too late."

On Sept. 17, 1963, a makeshift bus carrying 58 migrant workers was struck by a freight train outside Chualar, California. Thirty-two workers died.

In the wake of Chualar, Congress passed a law requiring contractors to provide proof of liability insurance and to inform workers about housing, wages and transportation. Two decades later, lawmakers enacted the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, or MSPA, which, among other requirements, mandates that agricultural employers show that transportation is properly insured and meets safety standards.

More than 10,000 farm labor contractors are registered under MSPA, but Labor's Wage and Hour Division has just 976 investigators to police them, plus the millions of other businesses covered by the laws it enforces.

That lack of manpower, combined with often minor penalties for infractions, encourages people to cut corners, farmworker advocates say.

"... (Y)ou end up saving money by just paying the fine and treating the farmworkers as disposable," says Dawson Morton of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

Violators are "aided and abetted" by the fact that most workers are too afraid of dismissal or deportation to complain, Schell says. Often, a record of non-compliance is discovered only after a crash.

This July 2, police say a 1979 school bus carrying dozens of Haitian farmworkers and family members blew through a flashing red light near the town of St. Marks, Florida, and was struck by a tractor-trailer. The truck driver and three on the bus were killed.

Unsecured seats were among 25 violations cited in post-accident inspections of farm labor contractor Billy R. Evans' fleet. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called the Belle Glade, Florida, contractor "an imminent risk of serious injury or death," and ordered him off the roads.

The case remains under investigation. Neither Evans nor the driver responded to AP's calls for comment.

Most growers don't provide transportation to their remote fields. So, many workers fall prey to so-called "raiteros," who illegally charge desperate workers often exorbitant fees for unregulated transportation.

Two recent California cases show the challenges regulators face when trying to assign responsibility for an accident.

On Jan. 9, 2015, four men returning from the fields died when their overloaded van plowed into a tractor-trailer in Fresno County. Investigators concluded that the driver was a foreman for C.A.T. Labor Services, and Labor moved to revoke the firm's certification .

Company attorney Anthony Raimondo insists the driver, who pleaded no contest in March to manslaughter, was solely responsible for this "horrible tragedy," and that the accusations against his client were "paperwork violations."

In another case, four farmworkers, including a 16-year-old girl, died when the van they were in crashed on June 20, 2015, in Merced County. Police say the unlicensed driver fell asleep at the wheel.

This August, Labor's San Francisco office filed suit against grower Valley Garlic Inc. and contractor, X-Treme Ag Labor Inc., citing a 1997 federal court ruling that rejected the view that growers who use labor contractors have no responsibility themselves to make sure workers travel safely.

Both companies have denied wrongdoing. Janet Herold, West Regional Solicitor for the Department of Labor, says these legal actions are a message to the agricultural community that "we are going to change tools until you change practices."

In the crash that killed Jose Chavez, Labor Department inspectors recommended more than $500,000 in civil penalties, according to a draft settlement obtained by AP. A review knocked that recommendation down to $2,000.

Federal investigations continue. Despite that, Vasquez was authorized visas for nearly 350 guest workers this past year. The company did not reply to AP requests for comment.

Meanwhile, lawyers are wrangling over how to divide the limited insurance proceeds.

Jose's wages helped his parents build a small but sturdy two-room concrete house. They had to borrow money to bury him.

Sitting before a portrait of her oldest boy, Maria Felix Chavez Martinez weeps.

"He was our only option," she says. "The only hope we had."

5-year-old boy killed by an unrestrained dump truck in Hillsborough, NC; truck driver, Alejandro Suarez, charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle

Police charge worker who failed to control truck that killed child

Hillsborough, N.C. — Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton said a 5-year-old boy hit by an unrestrained dump truck Monday afternoon has died.

Greg Tuttle, who lives in the neighborhood, said first responders told him that a construction worker left a dump truck unattended at the top of a hill on Dogwood Bloom Lane in the Forest Ridge subdivision. That worker, Alejandro Suarez, told first responders that he had set the brake on the truck only to see it rolling free.

Hillsborough police determined that Suarez, of 287 Spider Lily Lane in Angier, was responsible for controlling the truck, and they charged him Monday with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

”I mean, how could something like this happen," Tuttle said. "You just don’t ever think that something like this could ever actually happen. But accidents do happen, freak things happen. Apparently that’s what happened here."

Suarez was being held Monday evening in Orange County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond.

“At this point, we don’t believe the vehicle was properly secured,” Hampton said. “We will also be following up the investigation, looking at the mechanical condition of the vehicle and confirming all of the working relationships, regarding specifically which company the crew was working for.”

Investigators said they will look into the safety record of the construction company.

The truck rolled down the hill for about 100 yards, snapping overhead power lines before running into the home and hitting the boy, who was playing in a driveway. The child was taken to Duke University Hospital and later died, Hampton said


HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A man was charged after a 5-year-old boy died when he was hit by a construction truck that rolled down a hill and crashed in Hillsborough on Monday afternoon, officials said. 

The incident happened just before 1 p.m. in the 200 block of Dogwood Bloom Lane, which is in the Forest Ridge neighborhood where new homes are being built.

Alejandro Suarez of 287 Spider Lily Lane in Angier was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, Hillsborough town officials said in an email.

Authorities said that the truck was being loaded with dirt at the time but that it “rolled away from its work area.”

The vehicle then rolled down a hill, hit a light pole and then hit the boy before crashing into a house at 205 Dogwood Bloom Lane.

The boy was hit while in a driveway of his own home, officials said. In photos, a construction truck could be seen smashed into a garage of the home.

“Suarez was determined to be responsible for control of the vehicle,” Hillsborough officials said.

Suarez was arrested and placed in Orange County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond.

Forest Ridge resident Greg Tuttle says when he heard sirens Monday afternoon he didn’t think it was for his neighborhood.

“I just looked out my back window and saw a lot of police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck, and saw something going on down there. I thought maybe a home had caught fire or something,” he said.

“There were quite a few little kids playing, and most of them I guess were able to scamper out of the way,” Tuttle added.

Neighbors are stunned at the unthinkable tragedy.

“I feel so bad for the family, right at Christmas time like this,” said Tuttle.

Tuttle says this incident will have residents paying closer attention to the construction sites around their homes.


Man charged after boy hit, killed by construction truck in Hillsborough

A runaway construction truck struck and killed a little boy playing in his yard.

By Angelica Alvarez
Monday, December 26, 2016 11:27PM
HILLSBOROUGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- A 5-year-old boy was killed Monday when a construction truck came barreling toward his home. Now, one of the men on the construction crew is being charged.

It happened in the Forest Ridge subdivision, a new neighborhood not far from U.S. 70. Many homes are still under construction around houses where families were home the day after Christmas.

On Dogwood Bloom Lane, neighbors describe themselves as close knit. It's quiet and children play up and down the street while construction crews work nearby. That's the way it was Monday afternoon when the unthinkable happened.

The construction truck came loose and rolled down a hill (WTVD)

Just before 1 p.m., Hillsborough police responded to emergency calls about a construction dump truck and a 5-year-old boy. Just up the street, on a hill, construction crews were loading the back of the truck when it started rolling.

No one was inside of the truck when it started gaining speed, barreling down the hill, through a front yard, a driveway and then a garage door.

Playing in the driveway just before that garage, were children. One was the young boy. Neighbors say he was playing soccer, and he couldn't get out of the way fast enough. The truck hit him before crashing into the home.

Neighbors say a doctor lives in the neighborhood and ran over to help. She performed CPR until emergency crews arrived.

"I heard a lot of sirens, a lot of commotion," said Greg Tuttle, who came outside and saw the damage to the home, "I thought that was sad in itself but then I heard a little boy was killed, just made it, quite a bit tragic."

Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton said the boy was rushed to Duke University Hospital, but did not survive.

Alejandro Suarez, of Angier, is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Police said he was responsible for the control of the vehicle. He was taken to the Orange County Jail and is being held on a $10,000 bond.

At this point, we don't believe the vehicle was properly secured," said Chief Hampton. "We will also be following up the investigation, looking at the mechanical condition of the vehicle and confirming all of the working relationships, regarding specifically which company the crew was working for."

Online, the developer listed for Forest Ridge is Crescent Communities.

ABC11 reached out to them but have not heard back. We did however get someone with the real estate company, Chase Properties. This person was traveling and is working to provide information about who can comment on what happened.

SPEEDING HISPANIC DRIVERS ARE KILLED AT RECORD RATES: Two Hispanics died after their Nissan SUV slammed into a concrete barrier in Bridgeport, CT

Two Hispanics die in Christmas Eve crash

By Linda Conner Lambeck
Updated 6:33 pm, Sunday, December 25, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, CT — Two people died in a fiery car crash on Laurel Avenue on Christmas Eve, police confirmed Sunday.

Officials said a Nissan Pathfinder struck a concrete barrier on the dead end section of the street off Capitol Avenue at about 9:51 p.m. Saturday. The sport utility vehicle caught on fire after the impact, authorities said.

A bystander, Nicholas Iacurci, pulled out the driver, who was transported to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, where he died from his injuries, police said.

The vehicle’s second occupant was pronounced dead at the scene.

The identities of the victims have not been released and the crash remains under investigation, police said.


Hispanic Reckless Driver's and Passenger's names released in fatal, fiery Christmas Eve crash

By Cedar Attanasio
Updated 4:23 pm, Monday, December 26, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, CT—Police released the names Monday of two young men that died in a fiery car crash Saturday evening.

“The driver has been identified as Will Alexander-Armijo, 24, of Bridgeport,” Police Capt. Robert Evans said in a statement Monday afternoon. “The passenger has been identified as Ismael Hernandez, 26, of Bridgeport.”

Just before 10 p.m. Saturday evening, first responders were called to a dead end on Laural Avenue, near Rooster River, according to police, where they found a Nissan SUV slammed into a concrete barrier.

It was already engulfed an a fire that had started shortly after impact.

As the Post reported on Sunday, a passerby named Nicholas Iacurci dragged the driver, Alexander-Armijo, from the wreck. He was transported to St. Vincent’s Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s still unclear if the fire contributed to his death, or if he passed away on impact.

The families of of the victims have been notified, Evans said.


THE DEADLY U.S. ROADS: U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump by 10.4 Percent in First Half of 2016; 17,775 people died on the road, hundreds of thousands injured

U.S. Traffic Deaths Jump by 10.4 Percent in First Half of 2016

by The Associated Press

U.S. traffic fatalities rose by an estimated 10.4 percent in the first half of this year, federal officials said Wednesday, and continued an upward trend that started in late 2014 as the economic recovery accelerated.

The Transportation Department released the preliminary estimate at a conference where government agencies, the National Safety Council and other safety groups announced an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries in the United States within the next 30 years.

"We have an immediate crisis on our hands, and we also have a long-term challenge," said Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Male motorists are twice as likely to be killed behind the wheel as women.  Also blacks and Hispanics cause disproportionately higher traffic deaths and injuries, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. 

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The sharp increase in deaths this year follows a 7.2 percent jump in 2015, when there were 35,092 traffic fatalities.

For the first half of 2016, 17,775 people died on the road, compared with 16,100 over the same period a year earlier.

The improving economy means people are doing more driving on U.S. roads than ever before. U.S. drivers put in a record 1.58 trillion miles on the road in the first half of this year, 3.3 percent more than during the same period in 2015, the Federal Highway Administration said this week. So, a 3 percent rise in the miles traveled resulted in 10.4 increase in traffic deaths. 

The Transportation Department said it is committing $1 million a year for the next three years for grants for the zero deaths campaign. The rapid introduction of self-driving cars and other advanced technologies may make it possible to achieve the elimination of traffic deaths, the department said in a statement. Fully autonomous vehicles hold the potential to eliminate human error, which is a factor in 94 percent of crashes, according to the department.

The zero deaths idea was first adopted in Sweden in 1997 as a plan called Vision Zero. It has since been adopted elsewhere, including several U.S. cities. 


Despite the improvements in road safety, the United States has one of the highest death rates at about 1 person dead per 10,000 people. Unfortunately, only undeveloped countries have higher death rate.

Some states, such as Texas and West Virginia (sorry, WV, despite your tremendous progress in traffic safety, you are still at the top of the worst-death-rate list) have death rates of nearly 1.5 percent, i.e., fifty percent more people die compared to the national death rate.

Approximately 34,000 people are getting killed each year.  In the 1950s and 1960s, about 55,000 people used to die on the roads – so, there has been improvement in the number of dead. 

However, the number of injured is rising.  Roughly 2.5 million are injured (yes, you read it correctly – 2.5 million injured) per year.  That is, 1 percent (1%) of the population that is eligible to drive is injured every year.

It is worse than a war zone out there.  So, please be safe and be on the lookout for weaving-through-the-traffic drivers, crazy drivers, reckless drivers, sick drivers, medical-condition drivers, sleepy drivers, negligent drivers, stupid drivers, careless drivers, drunk drivers, speeding drivers, drugged drivers, texting drivers, talking-on-the-phone drivers, looking-at-the-GPS drivers, hurry-hurry drivers, tailgating drivers, upset drivers, eating-while-driving drivers, putting-the-lipstick-on-while-driving drivers, elderly drivers, and so on.