WOODFORD -- The driver of a tractor trailer that crashed on Route 9 Thursday has been charged with negligent driving after police said they determined nothing was wrong with the vehicle's brakes.
According to Vermont State Police, at 2:47 p.m. a 2003 Freightliner tractor trailer being driven by Willie J. Barnfield, 48, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was traveling west on Route 9 when he lost control of the truck east of Notch Road, near the "rock cut." The truck crossed into the eastbound lane where it tipped onto the driver's side, slid, broke through a guardrail and went over an embankment. Barnfield was trapped within the vehicle for several hours while the Bennington Rural Fire Department worked to free him, a job made difficult by the dangerous position in which the truck came to rest. It took longer to remove the truck itself, as its contents had to be taken out by hand.
Police said Barnfield told them he had problems with his brakes prior to the crash, but according to Vermont State Trooper Robert Zink, an inspection of the truck done by the Department of Motor Vehicles showed no major defects in the brakes.
Barnfield was cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court on Jan. 27 to answer a charge of gross negligent vehicle operation. After the crash he was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for head, arm, and knee injuries.
The Bennington Rescue Squad, and Shaftsbury Fire Department assisted the BRFD, according to State Police.