Line of Duty Death: Investigation finds that log truck and trailer involved had defects

Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 11:57 AM EDT
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Maine State Police investigators have made public details about the truck that was involved in the incident that resulted in the line of duty death of Detective Ben Campbell.

Campbell was killed when struck by a wheel that came off a loaded logging truck as he was assisting a motorist whose car was off the road due to poor road conditions on I-95 in Hampden on April 3rd.

Campbell was outside of his cruiser when he was hit by one of the tires.

By the time investigators took photos, road conditions had improved since time of the incident which took Det. Campbell's life. Police were able to re-create the scene using drones and mapping software.

The investigative report found that the outside tire of the truck was the first to separate, then making contact with the guardrail, and traveled along the guardrail to the area where Detective Campbell was standing.

They found that that tire then struck Det. Campbell, causing mortal injuries.

They say the second tire and wheel assembly found to the inside of that truck then traveled to the left of Det. Campbell's SUV, striking the car he was assisting.

Police report that their administrative audit of Scott Willett Trucking of Patten, the owner/operator of the truck, "revealed inadequate record keeping, including not maintaining required maintenance, driver and inspection records."

After an investigation, State Police say both the tractor and trailer had defects and problems that appeared to have been in place for a considerable time.

The root cause of the wheel separation was determined to be worn hub pilots.

Police further stated during Friday's press conference that "On March 7th, the truck and trailer were inspected at Timberland Trucking in Medway. Although new inspection stickers were issued, our administrative investigation revealed the tractor and trailer were not subjected to full and thorough inspection as required. as a result, the company was given a warning and the Inspection License of Technician Maurice Gray was suspended for 6 months."

They say Gray had been licensed for a few years and that this suspension is the maximum penalty for a first time offense.

State Police say they have turned over their investigative reports to the Penobscot County District Attorney's Office for review. The DA will now determine what, if any charges will be filed in the matter.