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State sues UPS after crash injures Federal Way pastor

Mark Haukaas founded Maranatha Grace Assembly in Federal Way. - Courtesy photo
Mark Haukaas founded Maranatha Grace Assembly in Federal Way.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Washington state is taking United Parcel Service to court.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports that shipping company UPS is resisting efforts by Labor and Industries to investigate a December 2011 crash that severely injured a Federal Way church pastor.

The state Attorney General's Office recently filed a lawsuit in Pierce County, asking a judge to force UPS to release records that could shed light on the cause of the crash. A hearing is scheduled for September, according to the report.

Mark Haukaas, 53, was injured about 7:45 p.m. Dec. 14 in the 36000 block of 1st Avenue South in Federal Way. Haukaas was working part time as a UPS helper, delivering packages for the Christmas season.

The UPS truck reportedly went over an embankment, ejecting the pastor before pinning him against a tree for nearly 40 minutes. Rescue crews had to use the jaws of life. The truck's driver suffered minor injuries.

A keyless ignition system may be linked to the December crash in Federal Way.

In 2011, UPS transitioned to a keyless ignition system for its famous brown delivery trucks. The system was expected to save $70 million a year and save 1.75 seconds per delivery, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, the driver of the UPS truck that struck Haukaas told a Labor and Industries inspector that he tried to start the truck using the keyless ignition system after releasing the emergency brake. Parked on a steep hill, the truck failed to start, and the driver was unable to stop the runaway vehicle with the brakes, according to The News Tribune.

Labor and Industries officials sought documentation from UPS related to the keyless system. Despite a subpoena, the report says, UPS has yet to turn over any records. On that note, Teamsters Local 174 filed a complaint about the keyless system with Labor and Industries last December, reporting that "the brakes did not work if their vans weren't running."

After spending months in hospitals, Haukaas returned home in April and began attending services at Maranatha Grace Assembly, the church he founded in Federal Way. According to a family friend, he is still recovering from surgeries for his injuries, which included two collapsed lungs, three broken ribs, multiple broken bones in his face, a fractured wrist and a cracked vertebrae in his neck.

"He is improving and happy to be alive, which is a miracle in itself," his friend Margaret Sackett told The Mirror.

 

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