The tractor-trailer that appeared to trigger a pileup on Interstate 70 Tuesday that killed five people belongs to a Colorado company that specializes in cross-country hauls of food, beverages and paper products.
Although Indian Creek Express’ vehicles have been involved in nine other crashes in the past two years, this is the first fatality in that time frame, federal transportation records show.
Inspections of the Pierce, Colo., company show a range of violations, but Indian Creek Express holds a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Its out-of-service violation rates are better than the national averages for both drivers and vehicles, records show.
Authorities have conducted 60 inspections on company vehicles in the past two years. They would not allow eight vehicles back on the road until problems were fixed.
A person answering the phone at Indian Creek Express twice hung up on a reporter’s calls Wednesday.
Of the nine previous crashes, four resulted in injuries. One wreck happened in Missouri. Two occurred in Kansas, including one that critically injured a 45-year-old Topeka man on May 3, records show.
The Topeka man lost control of his Dodge Dakota pickup while merging onto I-70 west of Lawrence. An Indian Creek Express Freightliner hit his truck. The wreck shut down the westbound lanes for several hours. An air ambulance took the pickup driver to a Kansas City hospital.
Indian Creek Express has 44 vehicles and 52 drivers, federal records show.
The company has undergone 177 driver inspections and 60 vehicle inspections in the past two years. One driver was cited for a drug/alcohol violation. Inspectors cited the company for 32 hours-of-service violations for such things as drivers falsifying their logbooks and being on duty longer than allowed by law.
Authorities also documented 35 unsafe driving violations. Those included speeding, improper passing and disobeying traffic signals.
Of the company’s 59 vehicle-related violations, 21 involved brake-related issues such as pressure loss, chafed tubing and missing components.
The family-owned company began operating in 1998 and has an annual revenue of $9.5 million, according to its website. Its base is about 60 miles north of Denver.