A trucking company cited for defective brakes was involved in the recent bus crash that killed six people in Ohio earlier this month.
The crash happened on November 14th in Licking County, Ohio on Interstate 70. This week, the Ohio DPS released a report stating that the truck driver in the incident, Jacob McDonald, was responsible for the incident because he was “following too closely” in the moments before striking a car and colliding with a charter bus. Now, newly released documents show that the trucking company McDonald was driving for, Mid State Systems, was flagged for brake issues in 2020, 2021, and 2023. Some of these issues even involved rigs driven by McDonald.
According to ABC News, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio had first flagged Mid State Systems’ trucks in 2020, when they sent a letter accusing Mid State Systems of brake connections with leaks or restrictions, and brake system pressure loss on a truck driven by McDonald.The company was fined $150.
In 2021, after another inspection of McDonald’s truck, violations including inoperative/defective brakes, excessive weight and “an automatic airbrake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear,” were alleged in another letter by the commission.
“The number of defective brakes is equal to or greater than 20 percent of the service brakes on the vehicle or combination,” the letters from 2020 and 2021 both stated. The company was fined $100 for those violations.
In 2022, the commission also alleged that McDonald had driven more than his 14 allotted hours, but no fine was assessed.
Fewer than three weeks prior to the bus crash, Mid State Systems and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio reached a settlement for $805 after inspections revealed “brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking” and placard/marking issues. That truck was not operated by McDonald.
A second trucking company involved in the chain reaction crash earlier this month, G.A. Wintzer & Son Co., has also been accused by the commission of “brake connections with leaks or constrictions,” “failing to secure load” and “inadequate brakes for safe stopping – brake lining condition” on the day of the crash. The company denied these allegations and stated that “we have received the letter from the PUCO [Public Utilities Commission of Ohio] and we disagree with their findings as we believe the accident caused the conditions noted in the letter.”
“Since this matter is still under investigation, we will reserve further comment at this time,” G.A. Wintzer & Son Co. continued.
Although the Ohio DPS has stated that McDonald was “following too close,” he has not been charged for the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash.
New body cam footage of an officer responding to the incident can be seen below. Footage may be disturbing to some viewers.