Troubling New Twists In Case Against Allegedly “Drunk” Trucker Who Killed 3 People
New information has been uncovered in the case of the truck driver who was driving on a suspended CDL and allegedly drunk when he crashed his rig into numerous vehicles killing 3 people.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – There have been some new developments in the case against Mississippi truck driver Jack E. Satterfield III, 29. As Transportation Nation Network first reported, Satterfield is facing 12 felony charges after was allegedly drunk and behind-the-wheel of a tractor-trailer when he plowed into numerous vehicles killing three people last month. The fatal accident took place Friday night, October 12 along Interstate 83 in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
Satterfield Waives Preliminary Hearing
Satterfield was set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Friday, November 16. However, in a surprising move, Satterfield has waived the hearing. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to allow prosecutors to present enough evidence to the court in an effort to satisfy the judge that the case should proceed. This is called making a prima facie case. In waiving the hearing Satterfield is acknowledging the state would have been able to prove that their allegations, if true, meet the elements of each crime he is facing.
Prosecutor in the case, Chief Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer, was quick to point out that waiving the hearing is not an admission of guilt though. It’s simply an indication that Satterfield and his attorneys did not believe they had much to gain by going through the hearing.
More Shocking Revelations
Shortly after the accident Transportation Nation Network reported Satterfield admitted to authorities he was operating the commercial vehicle after having consumed five double-shot margaritas and two or three beers at a New Jersey restaurant earlier that evening before the crash. We also reported Satterfield was found to have been driving on a suspended CDL. The reason for the suspended CDL has now been uncovered.
Satterfield pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge stemming from a February arrest according to court documents. On February 15 of this year, police found Satterfield in a tractor-trailer that was parked behind an abandoned building in Mississippi. In his possession was a crack pipe, a meth pipe and less than one-tenth of a gram of methamphetamine, according to court records. The truck was running and several other people were with him.
Satterfield was then sentenced to probation and was ordered to attend drug rehab. It’s unclear whether he ever attended. What is also unclear is if his employer, Minnesota-based Green Tree Logistics, knew his CDL was suspended.
This case has certainly given more ammunition to groups like The Trucking Alliance who is vigorously lobbying for the development of a drug and alcohol clearinghouse which would track such convictions. Carriers would then be required to cross-check the clearinghouse database before hiring a commercial driver.
Suit Filed Alleging Trucking Company “Should Have Known”
Jessica Lybrand lost her husband, Zachary, and her 18-month old daughter Eliana in the crash. She has filed a lawsuit against Satterfield and Green Tree Logistics in attempt to hold them responsible for the deaths of her loved ones. In her suit she argues Green Tree Logistics should have known Satterfield was not fit to operate a commercial vehicle and had a suspended license. She is also suing suing J.D. Eckman Inc. which is the construction contractor of record for the I-83 construction project. The suit alleges the project was unsafe. Click HERE to learn more about her suit.
The next step for Satterfield will be a formal arraignment scheduled for Jan. 4. A formal arraignment is simply where prosecutors read the charges, and defendants can enter pleas and court dates are set. If he pleads “not guilty” he can request a jury trial.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the developments in the case.
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