Truck Driver Charged After Load of Wooden Cross Ties Fatally Crushes Motorist
Wayne County, TN – After a nearly one-year investigation, a 57-year-old truck driver has been charged in the crash death of a Tennessee man last January.
Truck driver William Keithon Kephart, of Collinwood, was arrested on January 11, 2020, and charged with criminally negligent homicide after an indictment was handed down by a Wayne County grand jury.
The accident occurred on January 24, 2019, along State Route 13 at approximately 7 a.m.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) investigators, Kephart was operating a tractor-trailer hauling a load of wooden cross ties northbound on State Route 13 when he attempted to make a right turn.
As he did, the load of cross ties shifted and fell from the log trailer and onto an oncoming passenger vehicle driven by 39-year-old Eric Gough, also of Collinwood.
The load crushed Gough’s vehicle, a 2008 Dodge Caliber, and him along with it.
Gough was pronounced dead at the scene.
Multiple witnesses to the deadly accident told Tennessee River Valley News (TRVN) that “several stacks” of cross ties fell from the trailer and Kephart immediately went to Gough’s vehicle and attempted to render aid.
Also according to TRVN, Kephart told investigators that the truck’s brakes had issues in the cold weather and the tie straps used to secure the load were found to be “unsafe.”
Following the initial investigation, authorities did not immediately file charges.
However, almost twelve months later, a grand jury indicted Kehphart for allegedly being “criminally negligent” in Gough’s death.
Subsequently, he was booked into the Wayne County Jail and released on $25,000 bond.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to monitor this case.
Photos courtesy submitted/TRVN/Wayne County Jail