An accident in early April involving a CNG medium-duty truck that took the life of one individual and critically injured another is part of an investigation on both local and national fronts. The accident, which occurred in Howard, Wis., involved a Freightliner M2 106 that was fitted with an Agility Fuel Systems compressed natural gas (CNG) system and owned by Ace Manufacturing Industries.
“NHTSA is aware of the incident and is gathering information to determine what appropriate action is necessary,” said a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spokesperson.
Although the investigation is currently still underway, Ed Janke, public safety director of the village of Howard, is reporting that the explosion was caused by the heavy equipment shifting forward and penetrating the CNG tank.
“It appears that it was simply the fact that the forklift was loaded into the truck with the forks facing forward, so when the operator of the vehicle applied the brakes to slow for a driveway, the forklift rolled forward and the forks actually plunged into the compressed fuel tank and it exploded,” Janke said.
According to Janke, his office worked in conjunction with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office to reconstruct the accident to determine the speed of the vehicle and other related factors, which NHTSA is now using to further its investigation with respect to the actual impact of the forklift to the tank and how the tank exploded, and what types of forces were imparted into the system.
The driver, Gerald Throw Sr., 59, was declared dead at the scene, while the passenger, Jose Perez, 29, was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
By Stephane Babcock
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