PA eyes infraction for runway truck

PORT ANGELES — A defective braking system was responsible for the May 2 crash of an Olympic National Park dump truck on Mount Angeles Road, the Port Angeles Police Department has determined.

City Attorney Bill Bloor will decide if a non-criminal citation for operating defective equipment should be issued to either the dump truck driver or Olympic National Park — or if more investigation is necessary.

“We’ll run the case by the city attorney, and he may ask for follow-up or an infraction or something else,” said police Sgt. Jack Lowell on Tuesday.

Bloor, who hadn’t seen the report on Tuesday, said he didn’t know when a decision would be made.

The truck laden with sand lost its brakes at about 7:45 a.m. that Friday on the grade down Mount Angeles Road, as it came down from Hurricane Ridge Road.

It raced across Park Avenue and Lauridsen Boulevard, flipped onto its side at Ninth Street, and skidded for a block on Race Street before stopping just short of the Eighth Street intersection.

No other vehicles were hit.

The driver, Paul Duce of Port Angeles, was treated and released from Olympic Medical Center.

No one else was hurt.

“At the scene, we were looking at the brakes,” Lowell said.

“The two brakes on the truck’s front axle were hot. They were smoking.

“But in the back, one brake was cold, and the three others were warm but not hot.”

The driver also said there had been a problem with the truck’s braking system, Lowell said.

Witnesses to the crash praised Dulce for slowing the truck as much as he could by dumping its load to reduce weight and lowering the blade of his snowplow onto the pavement.

They said the blade appeared to catch the curb near Ninth Street, sending the northbound truck into the southward lanes, where it turned onto its side.

Duce said later that he deliberately tipped the truck to try to avoid hitting anyone.

Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said that park service officials hadn’t seen the city’s report yet, so she couldn’t comment on it.

“We’re also working through our own internal investigation,” she said.

“We very committed to looking at it from all angles.”

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