By Jena Williams

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Each year, this is the hardest blog for me to write. Each year, I hope that there will be no fatalities and that I won’t have to write it at all. But sadly, this is not that year.

We lost 8 Washington State truck drivers in 2014. The youngest was only 31 years old with two young children at home. The oldest was just 61. After serving in the Navy, he went on to a 30 year career in truck driving. Two were colleagues that worked for the same company. The tragedy for that company is difficult to imagine.

Below we have listed each truck driver in order of date of death. If we could find an obituary, it is included as well. Please use the comments to remember these drivers or just to appreciate truck drivers. Their job is harder than most of us imagine.

Let’s all do what we can to keep our drivers safe and me from writing this blog next year. I know it’s possible.

 

Lonnie Olsen, 51, Truck Driver

Died: February 21, 2014

Mr. Olsen was outside his semi-trailer truck cranking up his landing gear on the trailer when the truck rolled backwards crushing him against another parked truck.

http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901542014.pdf

 

Bruce Patnode, 53, Truck Driver

Died: May 28, 2014

Mr. Patnode and Mr. Peters (see below) were employees of the same construction company. Both were driving dump trucks on opposite sides of the road when one truck crossed over the center line, striking the other truck head-on.

http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/yhr/tuesday/2231305-13/bruce-william-patnode

 

Dale Peters, 45, Truck Driver

Died: May 28, 2014

Mr. Peters and Mr. Patnode (see above) were employees of the same construction company. Both were driving dump trucks on opposite sides of the road when one truck crossed over the center line, striking the other truck head-on.

http://www.dailysunnews.com/news/2014/jun/09/dale-e-peters/

 

Wayne Hostetler, 61, Truck Driver

Died: July 21, 2014

Mr. Hostetler died when his semi-trailer truck left a state highway and crashed.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/peninsuladailynews/obituary-print.aspx?n=wayne-eldon-hostetler&pid=171985824

 

Conor Finnerty, 31, Truck Driver

Died: August 7, 2014

Mr. Finnerty died when he lost control of the dump truck he was driving on a curve in the road and the truck left the road, landing in a river.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/spokesman/obituary-print.aspx?n=conor-j-finnerty&pid=172219560

 

Craig LaMotte, 57, Truck Driver

Died: September 22, 2014

Mr. LaMotte was run over by his own dump trailer when he was outside of the truck as a bulldozer operator pushed the truck off a berm on which it was high centered.

http://www.weeksfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Craig-Vern-LaMotte/Enumclaw-WA/1425474

 

Daniel Higgenbottom, 53, Truck Driver

Died: December 22, 2014

Mr. Higgenbottom died when his truck left a state highway and struck a tree.

http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestlocalnews/2770143-8/gig-harbor-truck-driver-killed-on-us-97

 

Richard Rector, 56, Log Truck Driver

Died: December 30, 2014

Mr. Rector stepped out of his loaded logging truck to check his brakes. The brakes released and the truck rolled backward over him.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/peninsuladailynews/obituary.aspx?pid=173777574

 

Again, please share your appreciation for these and other drivers in the comments.

Link to our previous memorial blogs:

2013: http://www.keeptruckingsafeblog.org/2014/01/13/in-memoriam/

2012: http://www.keeptruckingsafeblog.org/2013/01/14/in-memoriam-2/

2011: http://www.keeptruckingsafeblog.org/2012/01/09/in-memoriam-3/

Thank you to Randy Clark and the Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program for providing the data.