Truck Firm in Avon, Conn. Crash Charged with Manslaughter

July 25, 2006

After a yearlong investigation, the owner of the runaway dump truck that slammed into a group of cars at the bottom of Avon Mountain in Connecticut a year ago has been charged with manslaughter.

David Wilcox, 71, who ran American Crushing & Recycling, was arrested at his Windsor home Sunday night.

In addition to four counts of manslaughter, Wilcox was charged with assault, tampering with evidence, fabricating evidence, interfering with police, and 23 motor vehicle violations. Those include having defective brake parts on the truck, which went out of control while heading westbound down Avon Mountain on July 29, 2005.

The truck, which also had been cited for brake violations in 2004, smashed into 18 cars and a commuter bus that were stopped for a traffic signal at the bottom of the hill.

Four people, including the truck’s driver, were killed, and 19 people were injured in the crash.

Wilcox’s 25-year-old son, Shaun, was also arrested Sunday and charged with evidence tampering.

Both were scheduled to be in court Monday. Wilcox was being held at the Avon police department on a $2 million bond. Bond for his son was set at $50,000

In November, Wilcox and his wife, Donna, were arrested on insurance fraud charges, accused of trying to reinstate lapsed liability insurance on the truck after the accident. An investigation found they had suspended the policy six months earlier.

Meanwhile the families of the four people killed when the dump truck ran out of control slammed will likely get less compensation than previously predicted, according to their lawyers.

Money available from the auction of the trucking company’s assets will come to about $400,000, said court-appointed receiver Mathew Beatman. The assets were initially said to be worth about $5 million.

Proceeds from an auction of company equipment earlier this summer totaled only $1.6 million, Beatman, told Hartford Superior Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant. But pre-accident claims, liens and outstanding bills against the company, plus growing legal fees, will eat away at least two-thirds of that, he said.

A disputed $3 million insurance policy and the value of ACR’s hauling and excavation property in Bloomfield have not been included in the asset package.

Wilcox and his wife claim the property is owned by them personally, not the company.

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