Driver error blamed for fatal 2021 Draper crash involving dump truck

Nov 9, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 5:36 pm

DRAPER, Utah — Prosecutors believe driver error is more to blame for a fatal crash involving a dump truck on a steep Draper road nearly a year ago than faulty equipment.

On Nov. 16, 2021, a large dump truck was going downhill near 14550 S. Bangerter Parkway as an SUV driven by 78-year-old Sondra Powell, of Sandy, was headed uphill. Shane Randolph Newcume, 48, lost control of the truck as it was going down the hill at a high rate of speed, according to charging documents. Witnesses saw “smoke coming from the rear brakes.”

According to the charges, “Newcume stated he was on his fourth trip downhill when he discovered his brakes were not working.”

He blared the horn as the dump truck went through several intersections. Newcume drove around traffic at the intersection of Traverse Ridge Road and Manilla Drive and again at Traverse Ridge Road and Highland Drive, but he knew he wouldn’t make the turn at Bangerter Parkway, the charges state, “so he decided to lay the truck on its side by yanking on the wheel to the right.”

The incident caused a crash which sent Powell’s’ SUV into a guardrail. It went off the road and then rolled to the bottom of a hill, coming to rest near the Point View Apartments. Powell was ejected from her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the charges.

Newcume told investigators he had been driving trucks for 30 years and had been with this company for two weeks. When his wrecked dump truck was inspected, it was found that the “brake pads on two axles were not making contact with the drum and the brake hose was leaking,” the charges state.

But according to investigators, “Neither issue was the cause of the accident.”

“Rather, driver error and improper mountain driving technique caused the brakes to overheat and fail,” charging documents allege.

The investigation further concluded that the truck was going 46 mph on a hill with a 9% grade in a 25 mph zone, that Newcume’s license had been suspended and he had THC in his system, the charges state.

Newcume was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony; operating a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license and driving on a suspended license, class C misdemeanors; and speeding.

Prosecutors stated in court documents that Newcume recently moved back to Florida and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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Driver error blamed for fatal 2021 Draper crash involving dump truck