Driving History of Trucker Facing Reckless Homicide Charges Reveals Series of Offenses
Boone County, IN – The commercial and personal driving history of a Michigan trucker facing multiple felony Reckless Homicide charges following a deadly crash along Interstate 65 on Sunday is now coming under scrutiny.
New reports reveal that last year 34-year-old trucker Mathew Lewis Small, of Grandville, MI, was issued multiple citations while operating a commercial big rig.
According to local news outlet RTV6, Small was cited in Ohio last May for Speeding.
Then, in July, also while operating a big rig, Small was cited in Indiana for Following Too Closely.
RTV 6 traced Small’s personal driving record back to 2002 and reported he has been cited for a litany of traffic violations including being at-fault in two crashes involving passenger vehicles — one in 2013 and the other in 2015.
Both of those crashes were in his home state of Michigan, according to the report.
Additionally, Michigan records show Small was cited for Reckless Driving in 2002, and then in 2004, he was cited for Driving on a Suspended License, RTV 6 reports.
However, those offenses pale in comparison to the charges Small is now facing.
According to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), Small was northbound along I-65 at approximately 11 a.m. on Sunday when the big rig he was driving for Dubuque, IA-based VL Trucking Inc. smashed into slowed traffic.
The collision set off a chain reaction crash involving a total of eight passenger vehicles and Small’s tractor-trailer.
Two young women were killed in the crash along with a one-year-old infant.
According to Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen, Small told investigators he looked away from the road to “set his coffee mug down” seconds before the deadly crash.
After a crash reconstruction team investigated for approximately four hours, Small was charged with 3 counts of Reckless Homicide (Level 5 Felonies) and booked into the Boone County Jail, where he remains at this time.
Many Unanswered Questions Remain
On Monday, Sheriff Nielsen asked for more time to answer questions from the media.
In a social media post, Sheriff Nielsen indicated that even though Indiana authorities swiftly filed preliminary criminal charges against Small, he advised investigators are not in a rush.
“Investigations like these could potentially take up to 6 months to fully investigate,” he commented.
Further, he stated investigators have many aspects to consider.
“There are many aspects of this crash that will be looked into including videos that may exist, device data, forensic analysis, autopsy results, blood work results, etc.,” he explained. “We will also be looking at other factors in our investigation such as why the traffic was backed up and in a Que on northbound I-65.”
Small In “Agony”
Sheriff Nielsen also used Monday’s social media post to pass on a message from Small.
“I have also spoken to Mr. Small. He is very regretful and upset for what happened and wanted me to relay the information on this handwritten note.”
The note (pictured below) reads,
My heart and prayers are with the families. I am in agony over this whole ordeal.
Trucking Company Releases Statement
VL Trucking, the carrier Small was hauling for at the time of the crash, released a statement on Monday to local news outlet WTHR.
Our prayers and deepest condolences go to everyone involved in this tragic incident. We are now working closely with authorities, to help them complete full investigation.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), VL Trucking operates 150 power units and employs 150 drivers.
The carrier has a “satisfactory” safety rating and currently reports driver and vehicle inspection out-of-service percentages well-below industry averages.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments in this ongoing investigation.