Tragedy in Nashville after low-speed tip-over

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Updated Sep 30, 2013

No Trucks Glenrose Ave Nashville

The above looks due west/northwest on Glenrose Avenue in Nashville, Tenn., just up the road from the site of a tragedy a few nights back that, like so many, could have been avoided. I don’t know all the circumstances, but a fuel tanker driver heading east on Glenrose toward the Delta Express fueling station on the northeast corner at Glenrose and Thompson Lane apparently took a wrong turn, making a left onto “Old Glenrose.” What you see when you do that is very easily, and quickly, recognizable as a steep over-a-railroad up-and-down-type grade situation that a long combination vehicle will not be able to make. 

All’s fine there — according to media reports, the driver very clearly made such a recognition and began to back his way out of the mistake. On his way back, if I’m reading the reports correct, one-half of his trailer’s tandems angled off into a ditch obscured by evening darkness or something else, and the entire unit turned over on its side. As it began to tip, the driver panicked and attempted to jump from the cab. The rig pinned him to the ground.

I stopped off at what would have been the driver’s next delivery point — the aforementioned filling station — and inquired after his condition. Media reports noted he’d suffered a couple of broken legs, and store employees also noted that was the case, in addition to other injuries, and that “it could have been a lot worse.” He was, last they’d heard, in stable condition but recovery would take a long time — the driver, they said, was 67 years old.

To the family and the driver: I sincerely hope for a full recovery.

I missed any mention of the incident on local news until a report aired on the website of news channel 4 here in Nashville, posted with the headline “Residents want truckers to stay out of the neighborhood.”  

In that report, you’ll hear a lot of what you hear from such local reports — citizens “putting truckers on notice” about traveling through their neighborhoods and such. David Morales, president of the Woodbine Neighborhood Association, where the above accident took place, noted the disaster that could have been: “This would have been a serious disaster. If fuel had leaked, if there had been a fire there, they would have had to evacuate.” 

The fuel tanker driver’s accident occurred on a truck-restricted route route.The fuel tanker driver’s accident occurred on a truck-restricted route route.

True, and what makes it all worse is that residents already have gotten the Glenrose and Foster Ave. routes to Thompson Lane (from the intersection of Foster and Glenrose both South and East-Southeast) posted as no-truck routes. Ultimately, the fuel-truck driver wasn’t supposed to be on Glenrose in the first place, which makes the near-“disaster” Morales speaks of (and the clear actual disaster, given the driver’s condition, in my view) all the more tragic. 

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They could certainly be a little more aware of the implications of their word choices, but the neighborhood reps in the end have at least one point. I sat at a fueling station at Foster and Glenrose for 10 minutes yesterday afternoon. During that period more than just one combination tractor-trailer came west to the intersection on truck-restricted Glenrose to take a right on Foster north to a strip of that road south of Murfreesboro Road that is something of a trucking hub, replete with leasing companies, dealerships and trucking-company terminals. The Glenrose/Foster combination (or Foster alone) route between that area and the big-box retail area near Thompson and I-65 are natural ones on a map, but given that they’re posted, any mishap along the way could well be compounded. 

Those no-truck signs, in the end, are fairly small, I’d estimate a little more than a foot on the longest end — and they could be really easy to miss at night. Keep your eyes especially wide open navigating cities this weekend and beyond. 

Safe hauling to those running the roads today…