Flatbed Truck Starts on Its Own, Crushing Auto Body Shop Worker, New York
New York Case Report: 14NY013
On March 10, 2014, a 39 year-old male worker of an automobile body shop was fatally crushed by a 2002 Ford F-550 XLT Super Duty diesel flatbed truck in the shop. At the time of the incident, the victim was working alone cleaning the truck in a wash bay. The truck was parked in first gear with the key in the ignition. The parking brake was not set and the wheels were not chocked. At approximately 11:00 am, the victim was cleaning the passenger side of the truck with a pressure washer hose when the truck suddenly rolled forward. It rolled 16 feet and crashed into a paint booth before it stopped. The victim was crushed and pinned between the paint booth door and the passenger side of the truck. A shop worker called 911 immediately. The other workers pulled the door away from the victim and freed him. The emergency medical technicians arrived within minutes. The victim was transported to a hospital where he later died from the crush injuries. A Ford certified mechanic from a local Ford dealer examined the flatbed truck after the incident. The solenoid was replaced by one of the shop’s mechanics 20 days prior to the incident. The Ford certified mechanic found that the battery cable on the solenoid was not installed correctly. He identified a short circuit between the battery cable terminal and the signal wire terminal on the solenoid. According to the Ford certified mechanic, the short circuit allowed battery power to activate the starter motor that moved the truck forward. He also found that the truck’s neutral safety switch was broken. The broken neutral safety switch did not contribute to the spontaneous starting of the truck.