Months later, runaway truck investigation is still incomplete
Tahoe Daily Tribune
INCLINE VILLAGE – The investigation into the fatal runaway truck crash at the base of Mt. Rose Highway is still outstanding two months after the fiery wreck and there is no timetable for its completion officials said Friday.
The reason for the delay is an overload in cases pending criminal prosecution that are taking priority over the June 18 incident that killed the truck’s driver Frederick Matthews, 41, of San Diego, said Trooper Chuck Allen, public information officer for the Nevada Highway Patrol. A runaway truck ramp near the Highway 28 intersection failed to stop Matthews’ out-of-control big rig, which then catapulted into a two-story Incline, destroying it in the ensuing fire.
“The reason prosecution investigations take priority is that there are pending life-changing issues that come out of those that include lifetime in jail or prison time,” Allen said.
In total, Allen said the highway patrol is looking into about 20 cases.
“The average time frame for a fatal accident without too many significant contributing factors can take about 30 days,” Allen said. “However, we have a fairly significant amount of fatals that need to be addressed.”
The delay has put the Nevada Department of Transportation in a holding pattern as it awaits analysis on whether or not to make improvements to the ramp, or perform other necessary work along the highway.
“The accident investigation piece is a key piece to what we need to do,” said Scott Magruder, NDOT public information officer, who added that currently, the ramp remains unchanged from its pre-existing condition.
“It is operational,” Magruder said. “We still feel that it’s going to be able to work and function.”
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