Company in Gallatin crane collapse has history of accidents - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Company in Gallatin crane collapse has history of accidents

Posted: Updated:
  • Most ReadMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wingfield coach fired over texts to a student

    Wingfield coach fired over texts to a student

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:07:23 GMT
    A Jackson mother claims a Wingfield high school soccer coach had inappropriate contact with her 14-year-old daughter who plays soccer. She says she became concerned after seeing some of the texts the coachMore >>
    The mom, who preferred to remain unidentified to protect her daughter, said the coach asked her daughter for her cell phone number.
    More >>
  • Walmart overcharged New Yorkers for Coca-Cola

    Walmart overcharged New Yorkers for Coca-Cola

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 12:19 AM EDT2014-09-17 04:19:13 GMT

    Wal-Mart pays $66,000 to settle charges that it charged customers too much for Coke.

    More >>

    Wal-Mart pays $66,000 to settle charges that it charged customers too much for Coke.

    More >>
  • Ocean Springs mom warning parents about app

    Ocean Springs mom warning parents about app

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:00:09 GMT
    An Ocean Springs mom is sending a warning to South Mississippi parents. Katrina Johnson wants every parent to be aware of an app that she says is being used by many students to spread hate.More >>
    An Ocean Springs mom is sending a warning to South Mississippi parents. Katrina Johnson wants every parent to be aware of an app that she says is being used by many students to spread hate. Johnson discovered the posts last week, and she says what she read would make parents cringe.More >>
GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

Federal safety officials are investigating what caused a crane to collapse Tuesday and topple on to a moving car, and the Channel 4 I-Team has learned the company in charge of that crane has a history of work site accidents.

In fact, according to inspection reports, the company had construction workers die on previous jobs.

Some said it was a miracle nobody was seriously hurt on Highway 109 in Gallatin when the crane came crashing down.

"We do know there were strong winds at that time in the afternoon, but we don't know if the wind contributed in what happened," said Gallatin police officer Bill Storment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be in charge of making that call, and an OSHA spokesperson said it could take as long as six months before that inspection is done.

Now, the Channel 4 I-Team is learning new information about the company the Tennessee Department of Transportation said was in charge of the crane at the time of the collapse.

According to OSHA records, in December 2005, a worker was killed on a Mountain States Contractors LLC construction site in Nashville when a wall collapsed.

Then, in November 2010, another employee died in Memphis from asphyxiation after a hammer fell from a crane and hit the guardrail to which the worker was tied, sending the worker into the water below.

And in 2011, TDOT temporarily suspended construction projects by Mountain States Contractors and another company following a second fatality on a bridge project they were working on in Knoxville. After completing a safety review of projects across the state, TDOT later allowed work to resume.

The crane incident Tuesday in Gallatin was at the site of another TDOT bridge project. Federal OSHA officials are taking the lead in the investigation because the crane was sitting on a river barge.

The two men who were in the car when the crane hit are OK, but other drivers were surprised anyone was able to walk away.

"It was pretty bad. They never hit the brakes. They were doing probably 35 mph, and it was just a hard impact. It made a pop when it hit," said witness David Smith.

A spokesman for Mountain States Contractors said the company is cooperating with OSHA and is also doing its own investigation to make sure this never happens again.

As for the previous accidents, the company said in each case it took action to improve safety.

"Safety and accident prevention are our top priorities, and we do our very best to protect our employees and the public. When we fall short of that goal, we investigate thoroughly and train or re-train in order to prevent as best we can any future occurrence," said Mountain States spokesman John Van Mol.

Mol added the company has safety briefings every day at each of its job sites.

The Channel 4 I-Team asked OSHA officials if there are any standards in place for securing cranes in bad weather, but we have not yet received a response.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.