Petro-Chemical Transport Inc., owner of the fuel truck that crashed and exploded Tuesday on I-95, killing four people has an accident rating worse than 96.6 percent of carriers visited, according to FMCSA records. (Initial police reports said five people were killed but this turned out to be incorrect. Police still have not identified all of those involved because they were burned beyond recognition.)
An FMCSA review of the company in March showed no problems with its drivers or equipment, but drivers were having crashes more often than those at other companies earning it a 'deficient' rating. Petro-Chemical Transport's trucks were involved in more than 25 crashes in the past year. Even though the high accident record was a warning sign for inspectors, they could not find any shortcomings with drivers or the company’s trucks, officials said. With its ratings system FMCSA gives the following official notice: “The Accident SEA value represents carrier accident involvement only and is not intended as a means to assess fault."
Online records show that in 2002, a Petro-Chemical truck was involved in a fatal crash in Utah. Its sister company Kenan Transport, based in Charlotte, North Carolina has an accident rating of 83.33 percent and was involved in at least three fatal crashes in 2001 and 2002.
Petro-Chemical and Kenan Transport are both owned by Kenan Advantage Group, Inc.
The Environment Protection Agency has also found fault with Petro-Chemical’s operation. According to EPA records, the company was cited in September for discharging almost 3,000 gallons of gasoline from its facility near Mine Dumb Creek in Colorado, forcing the shut down of the Loveland Valley Ski Area water treatment plant and associated underground storage tanks and water.
Jack Frost, 64, the tanker truck driver was cited seven times by Maryland police for traffic or safety offenses since 1989, according to court records. On at least two occasions he was cited for exceeding his truck’s maximum weight rating. Frost had been employed by Petro-Chemical for more than 10 years.
Petro-Chemical vice president Ron Ritchie said the company was saddened by the incident. He praised Frost and said the company would cooperate with authorities investigating the crash.