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International recalls fire trucks after deadly crash

The drivetrain failure locked the wheels, causing the fire truck to crash head on with an SUV, killing the fire chief and five civilians


The Associated Press

BOZEMAN, Mont. — A company that manufactures drivetrains for International fire engines has issued a recall after Montana authorities concluded a faulty drivetrain was responsible for a fatal crash that killed six people outside Helena.

The recall notice says the driveshaft may separate and cause the axle to lock if a double Cardan joint seizes up.

The recall by Navistar Inc. is for International 4800 trucks built between June 1999 and May 2002 that are equipped with Fabco TC-200 transfer cases.

A remedy for the problem is still under development, the recall notice said. Dealers will disconnect the joint and owners will be notified when a permanent solution is available.

Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel was driving a 2002 International fire engine from Helena to Three Forks on U.S. Highway 12 on June 19 when the drivetrain, which powers the wheels, failed, Montana Highway Patrol investigators said in August.

The failure caused one of the wheels to lock up and the fire engine veered into an oncoming pickup truck carrying a family of five, striking it head-on in a fiery collision.

There were no survivors. Killed in the pickup truck were Matthew Boegli, Crystal Ross and their three young children.

The Navistar recall was issued two weeks after the highway patrol released its findings.

Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier said Navistar issued the recall after conducting its own investigation, KWYB-TV reported.

The company found five other incidents besides the Montana crash since 2008 that prompted them to issue the recall, he said.

Boegli was found to have methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash, according to toxicology reports. Montana authorities said the drugs did not play a role in the crash, and that Boegli had attempted to swerve from the fire engine's path.

 

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