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Hearing set for rig driver in Route 93 crash

Published January 11. 2017 02:46PM

A preliminary hearing has been set for a New Jersey tractor-trailer driver who failed to stop at a designated pull-off and caused the second crash in a string of three runaway rig crashes in Nesquehoning last year.

According to paperwork filed by Nesquehoning Police, Phalante Dutervil, 50, of 403 W. First Ave., Roselle, was arraigned before District Judge Edward Lewis on Jan. 5 on multiple charges stemming from his crash at the intersection of routes 93 and 209 in Nesquehoning on April 1. Bail was set at $20,000 unsecured, which Dutervil posted, court records show.

Dutervil faces charges of one count recklessly endangering another person, 15 counts of tractor-trailer violations, one count each not having insurance, reckless and careless driving, failing to stop at a stop sign and speeding.

He was declared a fugitive by Nesquehoning on Sept. 20 after numerous attempts to locate him failed and he failed to appear for a preliminary hearing in July.

During the incident, Dutervil, who was listed as driving at the time for Nurain LLC of Urbandale, Iowa, failed to stop at the top of the steep Broad Mountain at the designated truck pull-off before attempting to descend into Nesquehoning.

By the time the truck reached the bottom, the brakes on Dutervil's rig were failing and he plowed through the intersection, veering right and crashing into a tool shed at the back of Dennis Creitz's property across the street before hitting an embankment. Creitz was working in the garage on the property at the time of the crash.

Dutervil initially told police Chief Sean Smith that he had stopped at the designated truck pull-off on the top of Route 93, but witnesses said that he never slowed the vehicle down before trying to maneuver the hill. He then admitted that he did not stop or even gear down before coming down the mountain.

No injuries were reported in this crash.

Nesquehoning emergency crews were on scene for just over two hours to clear the scene.

Fern Ridge State Police troopers also completed a full inspection of the vehicle and determined that Dutervil's log book was not current, he failed to retain the previous seven days record of duty, did not stop at the posted truck pull-off before causing the crash, and that the tractor-trailer had four brakes out of adjustment, four brakes that were not operating, the automatic air brake system failed to compensate for wear and the rig was not properly marked with regulation USDOT.

Surveillance footage of the crash, obtained from Creitz, showed that an SUV passed through the intersection two seconds before the tractor-trailer sped through. The rig missed Creitz's residence and garage by 8 feet.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 18 before Lewis.

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