[UPDATED] The incident occurred on the ramp from Park Road to I-84 East in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
[UPDATED: Aug. 26, 2015, 8:05 p.m.]
The operator of a “snooper” truck inspecting the elevated entrance ramp from Park Road to I-84 east in West Hartford has died after the truck flipped over Wednesday afternoon.
State Police have identified the victim as William Shook, 43, of Middlefield, CT. Shook was rushed to St. Francis Hospital with life-threatening injuries but died as a result of those injuries.
Shook was employed by McClain & Company, which is headquartered in Culpepper, VA, and operates as a subcontractor doing bridge inspections for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Connecticut DOT Spokesperson Kevin Nursick said that subcontractors are always used for this type of work because of the specialized equipment required. Nursick said that a snooper truck is like a bucket truck but has a boom that can move sideways and downward in order to inspect the underside of a bridge.
Nursick said that Shook was outside of the truck when the accident occurred. “[Shook] was bringing the articulated arm back up topside, standing outside and operating it remotely when something went wrong,” Nursick said. He said that the truck rolled over, crushing Shook. The truck’s cab ended up dangling over the side of the ramp, above Trout Brook.
Nursick said that on Tuesday there was an incident with another of McClain’s snooper trucks that was doing an inspection on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London, and in that case the crew was successfully rescued by the fire department.
“Today we had an incident with the same company, and it’s a fatality. We don’t know all the circumstances but in the meantime we’re not taking a chance with safety. When the OSHA investigation is complete we can make a decision whether to work with [McClain] again, but for now the DOT has been instructed not to utilize this company,” Nursick said.
“We’re not taking any chances and we don’t want anyone else hurt,” Nursick said. “It’s important not to rush judgement because we don’t know what the facts are but all we know is that two incidents in two days is two too many.”
Nursick said that bridge inspections will continue, and the DOT will use other companies that have the required specialized equipment.
The ramp will remain closed until the truck has been removed.
West Hartford Fire Department Assistant Chief Richard Winn said it appeared that West Hill Automotive would be able to remove the dangling truck without needing a crane.
Winn said that a significant amount of fluid, which could include gasoline or hydrolic fluid, has been leaking from the truck into Trout Brook. The West Hartford Fire Department placed three booms in the water to capture the contaminent, and a environmental clean-up company had also been called to the scene to perform hazmat duties.
Crews are working to remove a construction vehicle that flipped over while working on the ramp from Park Road (exit 43) to I-84 eastbound in West Hartford afternoon.
According to West Hartford Assistant Fire Chief Richard Winn, an object was apparently being moved with the truck’s boom when the vehicle flipped over the edge of the ramp and became stuck dangling over Trout Brook.
Because the incident occurred on the ramp to I-84, it is being handled by Connecticut State Police, but West Hartford Fire was also called to the scene.
Winn said that one person was transported to the hospital with injuries but he did not know the extent of the injuries or where that individual was when the incident occurred.
The incident occurred at 1:32 p.m., and the eastbound exit 43 ramp is closed and expected to remain closed for several hours. A state police spokesperson said the ramp would be closed for “an unknown about of time.”
A portion of Trout Brook Drive below the ramp is also closed. Traffic on I-84 is not affected.
Winn said that West Hill Automotive is attempting to move the truck with several large wreckers, but that a crane may be needed.
According to its DOT license, the truck is registered to McClain & Company of Culpepper, VA. A spokesperson for McClain could not comment on the incident at this time.
Winn said that OSHA has also been called in to investigate.
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[…] Truck flips over ramp. This fatal incident occurred just last week when a snooper truck flipped over and crushed a bridge inspector who was working on the exit ramp from Park Road to I-84 eastbound. The incident is still under investigation by OSHA and other agencies. […]