News

Garbage truck rolls between homes

A driverless garbage truck ended up rolling down a hill and going between two homes in Vernon’s Sterling Estates Tuesday at around 11:30 a.m. before coming to a stop. Nobody was injured though one home and the truck did sustain damage. Commercial vehicle investigators are trying to determine what caused the truck to roll down the hill. - roger knox/morning star
A driverless garbage truck ended up rolling down a hill and going between two homes in Vernon’s Sterling Estates Tuesday at around 11:30 a.m. before coming to a stop. Nobody was injured though one home and the truck did sustain damage. Commercial vehicle investigators are trying to determine what caused the truck to roll down the hill.
— image credit: roger knox/morning star

Tessa, the family border collie, normally freaks out at the sound of thunder.

So Amy Johnson, who was enjoying lunch Tuesday with two of her three children – Jovan, three and Ailielle, nine months – in the Sterling Estates rental home they share with Johnson’s husband, Seth, friend Zach Taralson and third child Ebe, who was at school, thought it strange when Tessa curled up in a ball in the entrance foyer and started shaking.

Then Johnson heard a rumbling, at around 11:30 a.m. Neighbour Terry Schaefer heard it, too.

It was the sound of a runaway garbage truck.

The truck, belonging to Progressive Waste Solutions, had come barreling westbound down 40th Avenue. According to witnesses, the driverless truck hit either a rock or piled-up snow on the corner of 40th Avenue and 15th Street and ended up between Johnson’s house on the left, and her neighbours to the north on the right, a space of approximately 20 feet.

“We were all finishing our pears and I heard this huge rumbling and thought, ‘Oh, what are the neighbours up to now?’” smiled Johnson. “Then, the house was shaking and I was trying to grab the baby out of the chair. That’s when I saw the blue (of the truck) go by under the deck.”

Schaefer had just let his dog out and had sat down on his couch.

“I heard this huge sound, came out and saw the truck between the two houses,” he said. “I went to check to make sure the driver and neighbours were okay.”

One witness said the driver had parked the truck up on 40th Avenue and was collecting garbage when the truck began rolling down the hill.

The witness said the driver was running to try to catch up to the vehicle but was unable to do so.

An unidentified Progressive employee on-scene said the company’s policy is not to comment on such matters.

The truck did damage a back deck on the Johnson rental home, and also hit the corner of the home’s foundation. The front end of the truck was also damaged.

Inside, in the basement, there were a couple of large noticeable holes in the wall and a big-screen television set had been knocked over but the Johnson’s musical guitars – Amy, Seth and Zach are a trio named Emet and are in the midst of recording a single – were unscathed.

“That’s good as my sister is coming in tonight to record some background vocals,” said Johnson.

Nobody was injured in the accident which was under investigation Tuesday afternoon by the provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officials. The Vernon RCMP also attended.

 

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