Skip to content


Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

Indian Point Quarry
Material Service Corporation
Athens, Menard County, Illinois
Mine I.D. No. 11-00052

June 6, 1997


William G. Hatfield, Jr.
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Ralph D. Christensen
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Federal Building, U.S. Court House
515 W. First Street, #228
Duluth, MN 55802-1302

Jake H. DeHerrera
Acting District Manager


Willard E. Skaggs, haul truck driver, age 53, was severely injured at approximately 1:52 p.m., on June 6, 1997, when the truck he was driving struck the right side berm along the haul road. Skaggs succumbed to the injuries the following day. Skaggs had a total of 25 years mining experience, all as a truck driver at this operation. He had not received training in accordance with 30 C.F.R., Part 48.

Randy Mucha, safety director, Material Service Corporation, notified the MSHA Vincennes, Indiana field office at 2:45 p.m. on the day of the accident. An investigation was started on June 9, 1997.

The Indian Point Quarry, owned and operated by Material Service Corporation, was located approximately 4 miles north of Athens on the east side of State Highway 29, Menard County, Illinois. The principle operating official was Mike Perry, superintendent. Seventeen persons were employed. The operation normally worked one, 9-hour shift, five days a week. Maintenance work was conducted on an 8-hour shift on Saturdays.

Limestone was quarried by multiple bench method and was drilled, blasted, crushed, sized, and stockpiled for sale as construction aggregate. Material Service Corporation had operated the quarry since July 1976. The operation produced approximately 450,000 tons of crushed limestone per year.

The last regular inspection was completed May 13, 1997.


The accident occurred on the main haulage road between the quarry and the crusher dump site. The distance from the dump site to the quarry was about 7/10 of a mile. The roadway at the accident site was 41 feet wide, constructed of crushed, compacted material, and free of holes and obstructions. A berm comprised of large boulders was present on one side of the roadway to prevent vehicles from driving into a wet, marshy area.

The truck involved in the accident was a 1996 Moxy, MT40, Serial No. 512075, six-wheel drive, articulated, 40-ton capacity dump truck. The cab of the truck was centered and narrower than the width of the truck. The distance from the right side of the seat to the steel cab support post was 20 inches. The distance from the left side of the seat to the steel cab support post was 24 inches.

The truck was delivered to the Indian Point Quarry on March 18, 1997 and Skaggs received task training in the operation of the unit the same day by the equipment distributor.

The truck sustained minor damage in the accident. When the truck was tested and driven during the accident investigation, there were no mechanical defects which would affect its safe operation.

On the day of the accident the weather was clear and dry.


At about 6:15 a.m. the day of the accident, Skaggs arrived at the mine. He went to the mine office for a cup of coffee, spoke briefly with Ron Weidhuner, foreman, and then proceeded to the shop where the employees assembled before starting work. After a pre-shift inspection of his truck, he began his normal duties of hauling shot rock from the quarry to the primary crusher.

Work proceeded without incident until 1:50 p.m. when Mick Minor, crusher operator, asked the haul truck drivers to dump slower because of the larger rock size. There was no indication that Skaggs had any problems, or that anything was wrong. After radio communication with Kathy Thompson, scale operator, Skaggs drove away from the crusher empty and proceeded toward the quarry.

About 1/10 of a mile from the crusher, Skaggs lost control of his truck at a gradual curve in the haulage road. The truck struck the boulders which provided a berm on the right side of the roadway. It remained in contract with the berm for about 88 feet, at which time it articulated and came to rest across the roadway.

Tim Morgan, truck driver, was returning from the quarry with a load of shot rock a few minutes later and saw the truck across the haul road. He radioed Kathy Thompson at the scale and reported the accident. He then climbed to the operator's cab and found Skaggs slumped over the right side of the instrument panel with the seat belt still holding him in his seat. The arm rests on both sides of the seat were bent out approximately at 45-degree angles. Morgan yelled at Skaggs and, after receiving no response, returned to his truck and radioed Kathy Thompson to request an ambulance.

Ron Weidhuner, foreman, heard the conversation between Morgan and Thompson and asked Thompson to notify Jerry Mester, shop mechanic, who was trained in basic life support. Mester arrived at the scene a short time later and attended to the victim.

The Menard County Ambulance Service arrived in a few minutes and transported the victim to St. Johns Hospital in Springfield, Illinois where he was placed on life support systems. He died the following day after a decision was made by family members to discontinue life support. The cause of death was reported as injuries to the head, creating massive brain trauma.


There were no eyewitnesses to the accident. It is speculated that the victim failed to steer through a gradual curve in the haulage road, struck the berm, and the truck traveled along the berm for approximately 88 feet. Black tire marks and scrapes on the boulders indicated the truck bounced back and forth against them as it traveled out of control. The victim received his injuries as he was thrown about in the cab of the truck. The lap-type seat belt which the victim was wearing did not adequately restrain him.


It is possible that a harness-type restraint system may have prevented or reduced the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident.

/s/ William G. Hatfield, Jr.
Mine Safety & Health Inspector

/s/ Ralph D. Christensen
Supervisory Mine Safety & Health Inspector

Approved by: John K. Radomsky, Acting District Manager

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB97M33]