By Rick Sallinger

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – A truck suspected of losing its brakes led to a serious crash in Colorado again. This most recent crash happened on Vail Pass on Saturday.

(credit: Colorado Dept. of Transportation)

The truck driver ran into the rear of a camper being towed by a Ford Explorer. Three children were in the car and were badly hurt. Five in all were injured.

CBS4 spoke with semi drivers to ask what should be done to prevent more of the same.

(credit: CBS)

Harold Doremus has been driving for 47 years without a problem like that. He blames drivers who “ride the brakes.”

“The biggest thing I see riding down the mountain behind them I could see where the brakes are smoking up, and I get on the radio and tell them your brakes are going to be on fire and they don’t listen.”

Common causes from brake failure include inadequate maintenance, an overloaded trailer and, as Doremus indicated, overheating going downhill.

(credit: CBS)

At weigh stations, the state patrol does random checks on the brakes Doremus notes.

“They got the eye for it. If they see bald tires or something with oil all over it, if a driver is not taking care of the truck or they are not taking care of the maintenance.”

But sometimes there are circumstances that can’t be avoided. Just ask Bil Ernsperger.

“People apply their brakes and all of sudden you don’t have any, we live here out in these mountains.”

Four were killed in April on Interstate 70 by the Denver West exit with the driver blaming the brakes in that case. Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, of Houston, Texas, faces 42 charges including assault and vehicular homicide.

In this weekend’s crash, the driver, Keith Thompson of Detroit, so far faces five counts of careless driving. The Colorado State Patrol says he was driving for LG Express of Alsip Illinois.

(credit: CBS)

It’s record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows a prior history of some vehicles found to have brake issues.

Rick Sallinger

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