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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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Criminal Charges Filed in Big Dig Auto Accident

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The company that supplied the epoxy for anchors in the concrete ceiling panels for Boston’s Big Dig tunnel was indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter yesterday. The Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley, charged Powers Fasteners in the death of a 38 year-old woman resulting from an auto accident caused by the collapse of suspended ceiling panels back in July 2006.

The highway accident report issued on July 10, 2007 by the National Traffic Safety Board stated the formulation of the epoxy was not adequate for holding up under long-term loads. The epoxy changed shape, broke up and allowed the anchors to pull free, causing the suspended concrete tiles to give way. As a result, 26 tons of concrete, rebar and suspension wire came crashing down, crushing the car of the victim who was traveling through the tunnel with her husband at the time. Miraculously, the husband received only minor injuries.

Accroding to the NTSB,

Contributing to the accident was the failure of Powers Fasteners, Inc., to determine that the anchor displacement that was found in the high‑occupancy vehicle tunnel in 1999 was a result of anchor creep due to the use of the company’s Power‑Fast Fast Set epoxy, which was known by the company to have poor long-term load characteristics.

Ms. Coakley stated that Powers Fasteners "blurred the distinction" in knowingly used a fast set epoxy rather than standard set epoxy, which their testing had proven to be inadequate for long-term loads.

For more information on this subject matter, please refr to the section on Wrongful Death.