Tough Week for St. John Truckers

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A truck crashed through hurricane-damaged bleachers and landed on the Winston Wells Ball Field last Sunday.

At first, a truck carrying a load of storm debris parked on the Winston Wells Ball Field next to the Sprauve School in Cruz Bay wouldn’t seem so surprising.

But closer inspection shows it didn’t arrive the standard way, through the gate across from the police station.  It took a more direct route: it crashed through hurricane-damaged bleachers and took down part of a retaining wall before landing nearly six feet below on the grass in the ball field.

According to several reports, a truck lost its brakes and careened down Centerline Road at around 5 p.m. Sunday; it was unable to stop as it approached the Cruz Bay Roundabout.

The truck allegedly plowed into the traffic circle, clipping a car which was spun around but was able to drive off, and continued, unstoppable, down the hill.

Details were not available from the police blotter, but it was reported that the driver was taken by ambulance boat to St. Thomas.

The area surrounding the bleachers and Sports, Parks, and Recreation food pavilion was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Ernest Matthias, deputy fire chief for St. John, said trucks carrying heavy loads from Coral Bay must be careful not to let their brakes overheat.  Matthias said he started out working as a truck driver, and it was necessary to drive in low gear and use the engine to brake the speed of a heavy vehicle on St. John’s steep terrain.

A debris removal truck hangs over a retaining wall off Centerline Road on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, a second accident occurred on Centerline Road as a truck heading downhill missed a turn. The police blotter reported, “an auto collision in the area of Supreme Corner involving a Mack Truck” at 9:10 a.m.

Immediately following that entry were two other entries.  One read, “Auto collision that took place near an auto accident at Supreme Corner, St. John.” A second stated, “Auto collision at Supreme Corner with a school bus.”

One official said a passenger truck trying to back up to avoid the Mack Truck hit another vehicle.  The official was unaware of an incident involving a school bus.

No one was available at the Zone D Police Command Tuesday afternoon to give further details.

Truck traffic has increased in recent months as trucks have been moving storm debris.

A 30-day extension effective February 7 was granted to contractors to continue to remove storm debris from the 10-feet right of way on public roads.

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