CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) – The mother of a New Hampshire truck driver killed in a rollover and explosion in Massachusetts says her son was a safe driver who loved his work.

Karen Staelens flew from her home in Georgia to Massachusetts as soon as she heard about Friday’s crash, but by the time she arrived at the hospital her son, Aaron Staelens, 43, of Richmond, N.H., had died. His tanker crashed into a guardrail and exploded Friday morning after a car collided with him and he veered to the right.

Staelens’ mother said she saw news reports of the crash on television and knew immediately that it was her son.

“I usually have CNN on, and I walked by and saw the fire and I knew it was my son,” she told WMUR-TV.

Staelens worked for Abenaqui Carriers of North Hampton, N.H.. His mother said he loved his work, his friends and his dogs.

“It just doesn’t seem like it should’ve happened to him,” she said. “He was one of the safest drivers you’d ever drive with, he really was.”

The driver of the car, Victor Aponte, 35, of Holyoke, was issued a summons to face charges including negligent motor vehicle homicide and reckless operation.

According to police, Aponte lost control of his car after it stalled briefly. His car careered across the road, hitting another car and then the tanker, which veered off the road, striking a guardrail and signpost.

The trailer separated from the tanker, rolled over the guardrail and down an embankment as the cab and trailer burst into flames, police said.

Information from: WMUR-TV,

AP-ES-03-30-08 1442EDT

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