Law enforcement agencies begin safety crackdown on trucks, truck - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement agencies begin safety crackdown on trucks, trucking companies


The Milwaukee County sheriff is cracking down on trucks and their drivers.

"Our ordinary day was destroyed in a split second due to truck negligence," said Joleen Tichelaar, whose husband was killed by a big truck's corroded brake drum that dislodged from the truck.

Jay Tichelaar was driving on Interstate-94 in Johnson Creek in May 2017. Tichelaar, 51, died instantly.

That’s why Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt said he started a Joint Truck Enforcement Task Force Monday, promising tickets for truck drivers who violate the law and fines for trucking companies that don’t maintain their trucks properly.

Wisconsin State Patrol troopers, Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies and Milwaukee police officers set up an inspection point on a dead-end road on Loomis Court in Franklin on Monday afternoon.

“The purpose of this is to take dangerous trucks off of our highways," Schmidt said.

Officers spotted potential problems with trucks on highways and then escorted them to the makeshift inspection area.

Drivers were asked to pull onto portable scales to check if they were legally within Wisconsin weight limits for trucks.

Officers said one company was fined as much as $15,000 for violating weight restrictions.

At least one truck's license plate was not up to date and officers issued tickets for other violations.

"The massive size of trucks, when not properly maintained, provides a significant danger to the motoring public. The enforcement efforts will hold companies accountable for equipment violations, as well as aggressive operators who speed, tailgate and drive without due regard for the safety of the vehicles around them. We are changing the culture to avoid catastrophic consequences," Schmidt said.

The grieving widow is asking for trucks to operate safely. She described the moment her husband died.

"Suddenly, the brake drum broke apart and threw heavy pieces of metal into the air with intense force and crashed through my loving husband's windshield, hitting him directly in the face and neck," Joleen Tichelaar said. "I can't even put into words the gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching emotions that our children and I have endured since that day."

The truck that ended Jay Tichelaar's life kept going and officers have not been able to find the driver or company responsible.

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