A mudflap detached from a dump truck last week and smashed through a Colorado woman’s windshield, killing her, according to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette. The truck driver, Thomas Edmisten, filed four repair requests for the broken mudflap that went unheeded.
The latest request was filed only a day before the loose mudflap hit the Toyota RAV-4 driven by Eileen Langan in Colorado Springs. Langan’s husband, Daniel Langan, feels the county is culpable for her death, according to the story.
County officials are baffled at how the damaged bracket slipped through the safety-check system. County workers called off work with trucks and looked for other problems with mudflaps, per the order of Tom Delia, superintendent of the Fleet Management Department of El Paso County. Workers identified various safety problems but no other faulty mudflaps.
The county Fleet Management Department oversees about 1,200 vehicles, including about 75 vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds and are subject to federal inspection rules, Delia said.
El Paso County provided dozens of inspection and maintenance reports for the dump truck that showed no reported problems with the mudflap. An annual inspection conducted Aug. 27, 2004, reported no problem with the flap, according to the Gazette report.
The documents in which Edmisten noted the bracket deterioration are submitted for “minor” repairs, said Fleet Director Praim Mangar. Minor repairs requests are for problems that aren’t thought to pose a safety hazard and can be handled along with scheduled maintenance, he said.
Mangar said his department has eliminated the minor repairs request form to cut down on paperwork and ensure that no similar problems escape notice.
Mangar said in the report that he found a work order dated June 8 that indicates repairs to the mudflap were completed. Mangar said he couldn’t vouch for the document’s accuracy or explain how the bracket could deteriorate again so quickly.