Trucker Sentenced to Prison One Day Before Anniversary of Fiery, Fatal Chain Reaction Crash
Indianapolis, IN – The trucker who pleaded guilty to a seven-vehicle chain reaction crash in Indianapolis that claimed the lives of a woman and her young twins has been sentenced to prison, one day shy of the accident’s one year anniversary.
Bruce Pollard, 58, of Sturgeon, MO, was behind the wheel of a semi-truck traveling in the westbound lanes of Interstate 465 shortly after 12 p.m. on July 14, 2019, when he plowed into slowed traffic, causing a fiery chain reaction crash.
Twenty-nine year old Alanna Koons and her 18-month-old twin daughters, June and Ruby, died at the scene.
In January, Pollard pleaded “Guilty But Mentally Ill,” to reckless driving causing death and other charges, which carried a sentence of three to nine years in prison.
On Monday, July 13, Marion Superior Court Judge Barbara Cook Crawford sentenced Pollard to the maximum penalty under the plea agreement.
“He ignored his responsibility… He should not have been on the road,” Judge Crawford said as she handed down sentencing.
During an investigation of the incident last summer, Pollard told the Indiana State Police (ISP) that a white vehicle cut him off as he was reaching for his iced tea.
Pollard also asserted, according to an affidavit, that his brakes “locked up on him,” and he did not mean to strike the other vehicles.
In August 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation declared Pollard an “imminent hazard,” and ordered him to no longer operate a commercial vehicle.
Also in August, Pollard’s attorney, Jack Crawford, filed a motion seeking a psychiatric exam for his client and raising the prospect Pollard may be mentally unfit to stand trial.
According to Crawford, Pollard exhibited signs he was suffering from a mental illness and acting “almost child-like.”
Evaluators at the Marion County Jail, where Pollard has been since his arrest last summer, confirmed that he is on the autism spectrum.
Additionally, evidence presented in court show Pollard spent 18 days in a hospital in 2015 where he was treated for a mental illness.
“Doctors there took a biopsy of his brain before diagnosing him with a cognitive disorder,” the Indy Star reported.
Pollard’s attorney argued these problems affected his client’s judgement when operating the semi.
Nonetheless, Pollard was considered competent to stand trial.
During the course of the trial, Koons’s husband, Joseph, spoke of his grief following the loss of his wife and twin girls, but also expressed his well wishes to Pollard.
“I believe strongly in both accountability and kindness,” Joseph said during his testimony. “I sincerely hope [Pollard] receives all the care he needs now and in the future.”
Koons’s father, Craig Norman, expressed similar sentiment during his testimony, looking at Pollard at one point and offering his forgiveness.
“Mr. Pollard, I forgive you,” Norman said. “I just want you to know I hold no animosity and I forgive you.”
Norman also shared his frustration with Pollard’s trucking company, North Kansas City, MO-based Weston Transportation, for hiring him despite his truck driving history.
In part, Norman was referring to Pollard’s arrest and subsequent two-year probation in June 2017 for “making a false declaration regarding his medical examiners report, which is required for his CDL.”
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Weston employs 17 drivers and has 21 power units.
There is no word what, if any, repercussions Weston will face following the deadly incident.