A Birch Equipment forklift was badly damaged when a flatbed trailer came loose Tuesday morning, April 12, likely totaling the equipment and stalling traffic for close to two hours in Bellingham.
A Birch employee had been hauling a Gehl RS8-42 telescopic forklift south on Hannegan Road around 9 a.m. when the flatbed trailer came loose at the truck’s pintle hook — essentially a claw-shaped, heavy-duty trailer hitch — as it crossed through the intersection with East Sunset Drive, according to Bellingham police.
The flatbed flipped and came to a rest on its top, as the Gehl forklift careened onto its side, leaving shattered glass and black marks on the road.
No one was hurt, the truck took no damage, and no other vehicles were involved. The forklift, however, probably will be a total loss, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon.
Some online listings price the Gehl RS8-42 around $100,000 for newer editions. Older models are valued closer to $35,000.
The truck had been traveling straight through the intersection, not turning. Police were investigating why the trailer came loose, with their focus on a retaining pin on the pintle hook that had sheared off, Scanlon said. If that’s confirmed to be the cause, the driver could be cited for having an unsecured load.
In response to a reporter’s phone call, Birch Equipment emailed a brief statement: “We’re grateful there are no injuries. All indications show our driver was operating safely, with a properly secured load, and tractor and trailer are well maintained. The community support at the site and continued (support) have been incredible. We are surrounded by an amazing community.”
The business did not have an immediate response to a question about how they believe the trailer came loose.
Hannegan/Woburn at Sunset is a busy four-way intersection with traffic lights. Police remained on scene for about 1 ¾ hours as they coordinated the removal of the damaged forklift.