In a news release on Friday (Feb. 7), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they have ordered Ricky L. Hatfield and his Tazewell, TN-based company, Hatfield Trucking, to immediately cease operations. The US DOT served the federal imminent hazard out-of-service order on Jan. 22, 2014 after Hatfield was involved in his second serious traffic offense.
“Safety is our highest priority, and that includes every motor carrier, big or small, along with all other drivers on the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will not tolerate illegal and unsafe behavior by commercial drivers.”
Hatfield’s troubles first began back in 2009, when he was convicted of driving under the influence in Utah. Also, after the accident he attempted to flee from the scene.
Then, this past November, Hatfield was driving a semi-truck on Interstate 81 in Franklin County, Penn. when he crossed over the highway shoulder, striking a car and two pedestrians, according the FMCSA. After slamming into a dump truck, Hatfield’s semi overturned across I-81. Again, he tried to flee the scene of the accident, but was later caught hiding behind a nearby gas station.
Among those critically hurt in the accident were Isaac Espinoza-Espinoza and Francisco Ramos-Becerra – both suffered life-threatening injuries.
Franklin County police charged Hatfield with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, aggravated assault by vehicle, and failure to stop at an accident involving death or personal injury, in addition to several other traffic offenses.
“Interstate truck and bus companies and their drivers should have no doubt that we will vigorously enforce all federal safety regulations to the fullest extent possible by law,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Carriers and drivers who flout the safety rules put the public at risk and will be shut down.”
Friday’s imminent hazard order not only applies to Hatfield individually, who remains in the custody of Franklin County law enforcement, but also all vehicles owned or operated by Hatfield Trucking.
Unfortunately, tragic stories like this are common throughout the country. Commercial trucks carrying heavy loads can be very difficult to control. Add that to driver fatigue and drug or alcohol abuse and you’ve got the makings of a catastrophic accident. Visit our main site to learn more about the common causes of truck accidents.
And if you or a loved one has been affected by an accident of this nature, reach out to Tennessee truck accident attorneys at Gilreath & Associates to discuss your case today.