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Driver Declared Imminent Hazard after Medical Condition Causes Fatal Crash

November 13, 2015

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a Minnesota truck driver an imminent hazard to public safety after medical problems caused a fatal accident last month.

John Ray Carpenter has been ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce after an FMCSA investigation revealed that Carpenter is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Carpenter is both a driver and the CEO of Hibbing, Minnesota-based Carpenter Brothers Services Inc., which does business as Portable John. On Oct. 22, while driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., Carpenter suffered a medical problem that caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming traffic, collide into a passenger vehicle, and fatally injure the driver.

Following the crash, Carpenter revealed to federal and state investigators that he had experienced approximately six previous episodes involving medical problems while driving, some of which also resulted in crashes.

In the past four months, investigators also found multiple violations by Carpenter of federal hours-of-service regulations. On the day prior to the fatal crash in October, investigators found evidence that Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years.  Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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