Court records indicate that a case was filed in Allegheny County Common Court in April 2016 against Verizon Communication Inc. This came after two brothers, Robert and Richard Hetrick, hit a sagging Verizon phone line while hauling a load of televisions during the night of November 17, 2014 driving on their way to New York City. This occurred on Route 40 in the rural area of Addison Township in Somerset County. The incident caused $16,000 in damages to the 18-wheeler by hitting and breaking the windshield and is said to have caused personal injuries to the two men as well.
According to the the lawsuit, a Verizon telephone pole and parts of its legacy copper-line networks owned by Verizon in Pennsylvania had not been maintained properly by the company which resulted in sagging lines.
The poles were not checked properly by the company when Verizon began their focus on investments with more updated wireless and FIOS TV and internet Services and failed to take measures to get rid of poles no longer needed for use by the company.
Verizon was unwilling to comment about the incident due continuing litigation; however, the attorney for the Hetrick brothers, Carlyle “CJ Engel” pointed out that there is proof that pole was installed in 1943 and was not a “double pole.” At the time of the investigation, Verizon still had not given proper records or documentation to prove that the pole had been inspected since its original install in 1943.
Furthermore, the lawsuit also claims that several poles near the crash scene along Route 40 are also leaning and a danger for future incident to occur if not removed. The poles were said to have some of the leaning poles also having “had makeshift ‘extensions’ bolted to the top of the poles with utility wires relocated to these extensions.”
In the settlement against Verizon brought on by the Communications Workers of America; the issue is to remedied by the removal of the estimated 15,000 poles over the next three years by Verizon in order to keep any future reoccurrences from possibly happening again.