Trucker Declared “Imminent Hazard” Now Charged For Killing Construction Worker
Union County, Ohio – A 78-year-old truck driver who was placed out of service and deemed an “imminent hazard” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) earlier this year has now been charged with serious crimes in connection to a fatal accident along U.S. 33 last year.
Douglas A. Jones of Mansfield, Ohio, has been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide, plus two counts of failure to stop after an accident.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported the crash last year shortly after it happened.
On December 7, 2018, authorities say Teresa Howell, 24, of Greenwhich, Ohio, was working with Lake Erie Construction of Norwalk, repairing guardrails along eastbound U.S. 33 when she was hit and killed by a big rig operated by Jones.
The deadly crash occurred at approximately 9 a.m.
Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton said the semi-truck ran over numerous traffic cones before striking and killing Howell.
According to Union County Prosecutor David Phillips, Jones then continued on without stopping.
Eye-witnesses provided the license plate number of the truck and traffic cams help authorities track Jones to a warehouse about 30 miles away from the scene at 1580 Williams Road in Columbus.
Authorities then questioned Jones who was hauling baby food and baby formula for Ohio-based Estep Express Inc. at the time of the crash.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, Jones could face up to five years in prison, Phillips said.
The vehicular homicide charge is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
Of the two failure-to-stop charges, the most serious is a second-degree felony punishable by a prison term of two to eight years, according to Phillips.
Jones is also facing a civil suit.
Howell’s family sued Jones and Estep Express Inc. in March, according to Union County Clerk of Courts records.
The suit is seeking unspecified damages.
Not The First Time For Jones
The fatal incident in December, for which Jones is now charged, was the second such collision he was involved in last year.
On July 2, 2018, Jones struck a man who was standing near his disabled vehicle on the right shoulder of Interstate 81 in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
Jones was charged with: careless driving causing death of another person; driving a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions; driving outside of a single lane before ascertaining if the movement can be made safely; and failing to wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt system.
Jones Placed Out Of Service
FMCSA placed Jones out of service on December 27, 2018, and deemed him an “imminent hazard” to public safety.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Jones states:
“Your continued operation of a [commercial motor vehicle] substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”
Further, FMCSA warned Jones that violating the order may also result in criminal penalties.
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