State investigators confiscate license plates of 21 trucks

June 14, 1991|By Marina Sarris and Melody Simmons | Marina Sarris and Melody Simmons,Evening Sun Staff

State investigators have confiscated license plates from 21 trucks owned by Cunningham Paving Co., whose dump truck was involved in a fatal pileup on the Harbor Tunnel Thruway in April.

A team from the Motor Vehicle Administration took the tags yesterday and today because the Anne Arundel County-based company failed to keep proper maintenance records, MVA spokesman James Lang said. The tags are suspended until Cunningham complies with state law.

During a June 4 State Police inspection, Cunningham failed to produce documents showing that two-thirds of its 35 trucks had been inspected and maintained as required.

A year-old law requires trucking companies in Maryland to inspect vehicles every year or every 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and to keep inspection records.

Cunningham's records became the focus of attention after police said that one of its trucks triggered an 11-vehicle pileup on the thruway in April. One woman was killed and eight people were injured.

Authorities cited the truck for defective brakes and for being nearly 3,000 pounds overweight. The driver, John Willie Buie, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, speeding and other traffic offenses.

An attorney for Cunningham, Michael R. Roblyer, said the company had planned to file the required maintenance records yesterday. "They thought if they put it in the mail, it's all OK," he said. "The next thing they know police cars are coming up."

At the firm's Crownsville operation, a man who identified himself as "Mr. Cunningham" declined to comment.

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