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Trailer Separates from Tractor, Killing 7 in Upstate New York – May 31, 2013

Although only about one in a thousand tractor trailer accidents involve the couplings, hitches or chains – when they occur, the results can be devastatingly tragic.

A horrific tractor trailer accident in upstate New York killed four children and three adults this past Wednesday.   The tractor-trailer, hauling crushed cars, was traveling southbound on a rural two lane road south of Syracuse, when the trailer apparently separated from the tractor and crossed the centerline into oncoming traffic. The trailer slammed into a minivan carrying eight passengers.  One man survived the crash and was taken to Syracuse Upstate University Hospital for treatment.  His condition is unknown. The two occupants of the tractor were unharmed. The three children killed were under the age of ten and the three adults were apparently in their early twenties.  All of the victims were local to the area. First responders were reportedly deeply affected by what they saw at the crash site and believed that all of the deceased were killed instantly.

The Cortland County Sheriff’s Department reported that the force of the trailer ripped the minivan apart.  The cause of the crash has not yet been determined but news reports have suggested that severe weather may have played a part.  At the time of the crash, strong thunderstorms in the area were producing high winds, hail and torrential downpours. Mechanical failure and operator error are also being investigated.  The tractor-trailer was apparently owned by Newtown Salvage, a New York based salvage company.  New York requires trucks to be inspected once a year along with random roadside checks by state troopers. Drivers are also required to do a “walk-around” inspection of their truck before each trip checking among other things, tire pressure and condition, brakes and the tractor-trailer coupling.

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