Trucker Ordered Out-of-Service Now Headed to Prison for DUI in Double Fatal Crash
Mahoning County, OH – A 34-year-old Ohio trucker has pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide stemming from a deadly crash last year and is now headed to prison.
Gregory Alan Barnhart of Bristolville was sentenced Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to 12 to 15 years in the Ohio penitentiary.
On September 28, 2019, Barnhart was operating a big rig on State Route 534 in Milton Township, when his vehicle crossed the center line into the oncoming traffic lane, resulting in a collision with a cargo van killing its driver, Howard Mounts, 68, of New Middletown, and a passenger, Bradley Ronci, 34, of Youngstown.
Following the crash, Barnhart was cited for driving while under the influence of a Schedule I drug.
He also tested positive for one or more Schedule II controlled substances for which he did not possess a valid prescription.
On September 29, 2019, Barnhart’s employer directed him to submit to a post-accident control substances testing, which is mandated by federal regulations and required to occur within 32 hours of a fatal crash.
However, Barnhart failed to do so.
He was subsequently terminated by his employer who deemed his failure as a refusal to submit to a control substance test.
On October 11, 2019, Barnhart was driving a passenger vehicle along Interstate 76 in Milton Township, when the vehicle left the roadway, traveled into the ditch, overturned and struck a tree.
A passenger was injured transported to the hospital.
In the aftermath of the October crash, Barnhart was arrested and charged by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Also in October of 2019 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared Barnhart to be an “imminent hazard to public safety” and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order stated that Barnhart’s “blatant and egregious violations of [federal safety regulations] and ongoing repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and motoring public.”
Barnhart initially maintained his innocence and was facing a trial.
However, on Thursday he chose to accept a plea deal.
He made a brief statement at his sentencing hearing.
“I just want to say that I am truly sorry for his horrible accident,” Barnhart stated.
He could spend even more time in prison, however, because he was on parole for drug and weapons convictions at the time of the deadly crash.
Barnhart has been booked into Trumbull County Jail 15 times on DUI, burglary, weapons and drug charges, dating up until 2014, according to jail records.