It was a cold day in December 2008 when Mike Sprinkle backed his tanker truck up to the loading dock at an asphalt plant in Greensboro and, like he had done many times before, climbed a ladder to the top of the truck and guided a pipe into an opening for a refill. An employee of the plant, Hammaker East, told Sprinkle that the pipes were clogged and it would be a short while before the asphalt started flowing. But when the clog was dislodged, the burst of asphalt was so strong it caused the pipe to fly out of the truck, spraying asphalt all over Sprinkle and knocking him to the ground, shattering his knee in the process.
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