Officials: ineffective brakes caused fatal Akron dump truck accident

AKRON, Ohio - Faulty brakes on a dump truck caused the fatal accident on July 5 in Akron, according to The State Highway Patrol Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit.

The unit said its inspection showed the brakes on the vehicle to be "ineffective."

"With these brakes, Christopher Burgess was unable to bring the vehicle to a stop," the inspection report noted.

The dump truck came to a crashing halt in the Cuyahoga River that morning, after the brakes went out on the 41-year-old Ravenna man as he was driving down Portage Trail. The tragic accident happened behind the Valley Centre Shopping Center on Akron Peninsula Road.

Akron police and witnesses have called Burgess a hero. Those who saw the crash said the truck went through a busy intersection and the shopping center before striking a tree, going airborne and flipping into the river.

Witnesses said all the while, Burgess was seen waving his arms and honking his horn to alert other drivers he had no control of the vehicle.

Police said Burgess was traveling at 50 mph when the dump truck reached the parking lot.

"You could tell he sacrificed himself to not harm others. I believe he did save other lives. My heart breaks for him," one eyewitness told NewsChannel5 that morning.

Dive teams responded to the scene and found Burgess dead inside the partially submerged cab.

It remains unclear why the brakes failed, but the owner of Huber Trucking earlier said Burgess inspected the truck before he left on his routes that day and didn't report any problems.

Burgess was a good driver and was never in a hurry, according to truck owner Jeff Huber.

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