Metro-East News

Company that employs driver in deadly 7-car, 4-fatality crash has mostly clean inspections

Candelight vigil for young women killed in I-55 pileup

Taylor Mitchell speaks at a vigil for Hailey and Madisen Bertels, and Tori Carroll, who were killed in a pileup on Interstate 55 near Hamel. Rev. Debbie Jo Atkins also recites a poem. The vigil took place at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Sta
Up Next
Taylor Mitchell speaks at a vigil for Hailey and Madisen Bertels, and Tori Carroll, who were killed in a pileup on Interstate 55 near Hamel. Rev. Debbie Jo Atkins also recites a poem. The vigil took place at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Sta

The company that employs the man who was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer that smashed into seven cars at highway speed, killing four people, has mostly had clean government inspections.

Forward Air Solutions, which works as an alternative to air transportation for cargo, has only faced one penalty in the past six years, and two-thirds of inspections by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not result in violations, according to the company’s Safety Measurement System.

Staunton school officials talk about the tragedy, and how they are helping students and community heal after the death of two of their own.

Police said the driver in the seven-car, multiple fatality crash, 53-year-old Mohamed Yussuf Jama, worked at Forward Air Solutions out of its base in Groveport, Ohio. The company, however, declined to comment about Jama’s employment when asked Monday.

The company holds a satisfactory rating from FMCSA, and has had one fatal crash prior to this one in the past two years. Of the 39 crashes, 13 resulted in injuries.

Forward Air Solutions had:

▪ 78 unsafe driving violations

▪ 23 violations in recording service and driving hours

▪ 1 alcohol/drug violation

▪ 11 driver fitness violations

▪ 351 vehicle maintenance violations

chart
Forward Air Solutions’ Safety Measurement System rankings. Provided by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

In March 2014, the company was fined $40,000 for failing to test a driver for alcohol, and for not having the documents to back up claims of how often a driver was on the road. Of federal lawsuits filed against Forward Air Solutions regarding crashes, six were dismissed and two are still pending.

Illinois State Police investigators have not released any further information on the crash, aside from the identity of the driver. Police have interviewed Jama and are reviewing his medical records, toxicology, commercial driver log books and the truck, said Illinois State Police spokesman Calvin Dye Jr.

Jama’s 2016 Freightliner Cascadia slammed into seven cars at highway speed Nov. 21 on I-55 southbound, just south of Hamel, with “no attempt to stop,” Dye said. The cars were stopped in traffic or slowed, and the semi ran over some of the vehicles.

Four people were killed, and 12 were injured. Staunton sisters Hailey J. Bertels, 20, and Madisen N. Bertels, 17, were pronounced dead at the scene. Tori Carroll, of Alahambra, was in the car with the two sisters. Carroll died Thursday at Saint Louis University Medical Center. The last victim in the crash, 19-year-old Vivian Vu, of Joplin, Missouri, died on Thanksgiving.

“This is one of the worst crashes some of us have ever seen,” Dye said.

Jama did not have any previous criminal charges in Weld County, Colorado, where police say he lives.

  Comments