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9-24-2014

FedEx driver tried to stop
his rolling truck
Faulty braking system led to fatality

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

An investigation into the tragic death of Charles L. Sims, a FedEx worker who was pinned between his rolling vehicle and the house where he was making a delivery in Platte County, says a failed parking brake system is to blame.

According to the vehicle examination report, Officer Greg Hall, a commercial vehicle officer with the Missouri State Highway patrol, performed an inspection on the FedEx delivery truck at the exact location where the fatal accident occurred.

During the inspection, Hall parked the white 2000 freightliner step van on the sloped driveway and pulled the parking brake. When Hall released the brakes, the FedEx truck began rolling forward on the driveway, sloped at a 17% downhill grade, states the crash report.

After attempting the exercise three times, Hall determined the truck either altogether lacked a parking brake system or contained a faulty parking brake system.

“The vehicle rolled on an incline with the parking brake applied and the transmission shifted to park,” states the crash report.

The fatal accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 when 52-year-old Charles Sims of Independence made a delivery at 10800 block of NW Amber Court west of Parkville.

According to the homeowner at the scene, the FedEx driver noticed the delivery vehicle rolling down the driveway. He ran toward and in front of the truck with his arms waving in the air, the eyewitness told authorities.

Sims was stuck by the vehicle and carried nearly 30-feet before being pinned against the house.

The homeowner opened her garage door to discover the FedEx driver pinned between the commercial motor vehicle and her residence. She reversed the truck and began yelling for help, states the crash report.

A 23-year old man outside mowing the lawn and heard the cry for help. The man noticed Sims pinned against bushes in front of the house. He moved Sims’ injured body, placing him face-up on the ground.

The homeowner detected Sims had no pulse and was not breathing on his own. She began to perform CPR on Sims, while the man called 9-1-1.

AMR Ambulance took Sims to North Kansas City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5 p.m.

Barbara Theriot, region 7 area director of Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said OSHA will be conducting an investigation into this accident.

“We will be collecting evidence, interviewing employees, and reviewing relevant documents. If we find there has been a violation of any OSHA standard, we will issue citations or penalties.”

Theriot said 'struck by hazards' is one of the leading causes of job related fatalities.

“We have four states in our region. Those states are Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. So far this year we have had 42 fatalities. Fifteen of those were struck by hazards. Struck by hazards amount to 36 percent of all job related fatalities in the region,” said Theriot.

Theriot calls these accidents “senseless.”

On a wider scale, Theriot said nationwide each day 12 fatalities occur while workers are on the job.

Theriot encourages anyone with concerns or questions about job safety to contact a duty officer at OSHA anytime at (816) 483-9531. Employers can also contact OSHA with questions regarding the safest ways to complete a job. Additional information can also be viewed online at www.OSHA.gov