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Trucker in crash that killed 6 declared 'imminent hazard'

You don't often hear the term "imminent hazard to public safety" applied to a vehicle driver -- much less a semitractor-trailer driver. But that is the tag applied to one commercial hauler. The deadly accident he is connected to happened outside of Texas, but there's no reason it couldn't have happened here and so we bring it to readers' attention.

The crash happened along Interstate 75 in Tennessee near the end of June. According to officials, the semi driver failed to stop upon coming to traffic in a construction zone and caused a crash involving eight other vehicles. Six people were declared dead. Six more were hospitalized with injuries.

Since the accident, at least two personal injury lawsuits have reportedly been filed against the driver and the company he worked for. It would seem very likely that more are to come, including actions claiming wrongful death.

Based on media reports, officials may well be justified in assigning the imminent threat label. The driver of the truck has a history of regulation violations. Federal investigators allege he falsified his work log in the days ahead of the crash to show fewer hours than he had actually worked.

They say he also failed to disclose in his latest employment application that he had been in an accident in 2013 and ticketed for speeding earlier this year. On top of that, the report says the driver tested positive for drugs in May.

All those things prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to revoke his license last month and declare him a hazard.

Following the Tennessee crash, a grand jury indicted the driver on 13 criminal counts, including six of vehicular homicide. And there are also allegations that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash.

Tennessee issued a warrant for the man's arrest. He was picked up in Kentucky earlier this week ending a five-day manhunt. Officials say he had drugs in his possession at the time of the arrest and now stands charged with trafficking meth. He's pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He is said to be held in Kentucky on bond now and remains wanted in Tennessee.

Source: WRCB-TV, "UPDATE: Truck driver involved in I-75 crash called 'hazard to public safety'," Kelly McCarthy, July 27, 2015

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