AVON - Police Chief Mark Rinaldo, State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Gov. M. Jodi Rell have one common word to describe last year's Route 44 crash: Horrific.

"It was like a war zone," said Rinaldo, the fourth person arriving at the scene of the early morning crash on July 29, 2005. "The utter devastation of the debris and burning cars."

A runaway dump truck owned by American Crushing and Recycling, Bloomfield, careened down Avon Mountain and struck 19 other vehicles, including a Kelley Transit commuter bus. The accident killed four and injured 10 others.

Rell and Blumenthal began working to prevent another similar accident by stepping up enforcement on commercial trucks throughout the state and prosecuting trucking companies that did not carry insurance on their vehicles or had mechanically faulty trucks on the road.

"We sent a very clear message to commercial trucking companies in the rest of the state," Rell said. "There are a lot of good companies out there. It is just a few bad apples."

Blumenthal has spent a good portion of the year in court and worked with prosecutors to develop the criminal case against American Crushing and Recycling owner David Wilcox and his son Shaun.

"One thing after another (in the case) made my blood boil," Blumenthal said. "There were so many different aspects about maintaining and insuring the vehicles and sending drivers out that were unequipped to handle that kind of situation," Blumenthal said.

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