The driver of a dump truck that caused a deadly crash in Avon, CT on Friday, July 29 had a lengthy criminal record, according to news reports. The driver and three others were killed in the accident. At least 20 were injured.
Abdulraheem Naafi, 41, was driving west on State Road 44 in a long-bed dump truck full of dirt when he crashed into one car, setting off a chain of fiery collisions that involved 18 other vehicles, including a commuter bus.
Investigators suspect mechanical problems and possibly driver error caused the crash. The truck was cited for brake violations last year.
At the time of the crash, Naafi was facing charges of drug possession, third-degree criminal trespassing and interfering/resisting arrest, according to state police records.
The Hartford Courant reported Wednesday that Naafi was fired from another trucking company three days before the accident because of improper operation of a vehicle and unreliable work habits.
Naafi was working for Bloomfield-based American Crushing & Recycling at the time of the crash. Company owner David Wilcox said through his lawyer that the dump truck's brakes were overhauled in April. He believes driver error caused the wreck.
Investigators are also looking into whether Naafi had undergone required drug tests. Naafi spent time in prison for issuing bad checks, failing to appear in court, resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, committing sixth-degree larceny and third-degree assault, according to state police and DMV records.
Naafi had a Connecticut commercial driver’s license since March 1999. He also was qualified to carry hazardous materials. Given recent changes in state law since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, his criminal record would have prevented him from renewing that qualification, but it was likely he could renew his commercial driver’s license, said Ralph Carpenter, state Department of Motor Vehicle commissioner.