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DOT sidelines company caught carrying explosives in Dunlap

Dunlap police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol stopped this truck on TN 28 south for carrying dangerous explosives in an unsafe and illegal manner.  Photos courtesy of U.S. DOT.

April 10, 2018 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has shut down a transport company after it was found to be carrying explosives illegally through Sequatchie County last month.

The Dunlap Police Department stopped the 2003 Ford F-25 pickup truck traveling south on TN 28 near the National Guard Armory south of town on March 23. In cooperation with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), officers found that the truck was transporting a large quantity of explosives to a work site in Marion County.

This week the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered the Crossville-based trucking company, Rock City Stone Company, LLC, doing business as RC Stone & Farms, to immediately cease transporting any explosives or hazardous materials, after a federal investigation found the company to pose “an imminent hazard to public safety.”

According to a media release from the DOT, RC Stone & Farms was served the federal order on April 9, 2018.

Finding that the pickup truck was transporting explosives in violation of numerous federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), the vehicle and the driver were immediately placed out-of-service,” the DOT statement said.

Among the cargo that was haphazardly placed unsecured in the truck were: Numerous cases of Class 1 explosives, including ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mixture; electric detonators; blasting caps, and detonating cord.

The Class 1 explosives were piled in the truck bed next to metal objects, including pipes, buckets, and work tools, and inside a bent metal toolbox,” the statement said. “The detonators and detonating cord located in the cab of the pickup were improperly packaged in a cardboard box and/or not labelled.”

It is illegal to transport detonators on the same vehicle as explosive material, unless the detonators are packed in a USDOT-approved container or package.

THP investigators found that RC Stone & Farm had not prepared Hazardous Material (HM) shipping papers, had not placed HM placards on the vehicle, and had not prepared emergency response information to be used in the mitigation of a hazardous materials incident – all violations of federal safety regulations.

The driver of the RC Stone & Farm vehicle did not possess a commercial driver’s license, an HM endorsement, or a medical certificate.

FMCSA investigators stated that RC Stone & Farm's violations were “… so widespread as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant disregard for compliance … and a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety.”

Since Jan. 1, 2018, RC Stone & Farm’s records show the company has transported hazardous materials to approximately 44 blasting sites in Tennessee – without proper documentation, emergency plans, or training of the driver to handle hazardous loads.

The company may face civil and/or criminal prosecution, which may result in fines and/or imprisonment.

A copy of the Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service order is available here.