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Ordered to Stop Driving After Causing Death of 7 Year-Old

by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/01/2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered a North Carolina truck driver to stop driving after a child was struck and killed last week by the driver's truck.


On Tuesday, April 23, a school bus in Sampson County, NC, had stopped to let a 7-year-old student off. Although the bus driver had exercised the standard cautionary signs – with the bus's warning lights flashing and its stop sign arm engaged, a passing logging truck did not stop for the stopped school bus. As the truck driver continued right on passing the bus, he struck Alyiah McKenzie Morgan along the way. She was pronounced dead while being transported to Sampson Regional Medical Center in Clinton.

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Johnny Allen Spell, 37, the truck driver, was arrested by law enforcement officers in North Carolina for his role in the crash. Law enforcement has considered Spell's role to be enough to warrant a slew of charges that include: involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, improper passing of a stopped school bus with warning devices activated, reckless driving, and driving while using or in the possession of drugs.

It is also being reported that Spell is now charged with DWI – which would make it the second time he has faced a DWI charge. While the FMCSA said the investigation into the crash and the truck driver remains open, they have ordered Spell to stop driving immediately, declared him an “imminent hazard to public safety.” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said FMCSA will “continue to assist state and local law enforcement officials, who are leading the investigation, in every way possible,” the release said. “We demand that commercial drivers operate their vehicles with a high regard for public safety.”

Last October, North Carolina troopers had devoted one week specifically to this potential driving hazard. Following school buses during this one week blitz, the state troopers had issued 8,000 traffic citations for drivers not keeping the legal distance from the school bus and the state also charged 16 drivers with passing a stopped school bus – the fatal mistake that took 7 year old Alyiah Mckenzie Morgan's young life last week.

While Union Elementary School brought professional counselors in to offer grief counseling to Alyiah Morgan's classmates, the trucking industry has a grim reminder of why safety must always be first and foremost on every driver's mind, all of the time.

In a recent new release, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made it very clear.“ Safety is our highest priority,” he said. “Unsafe truck drivers who endanger children and other members of the public have no business on our nation's roads.”