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More Truck Drivers Go from Behind the Wheel to Behind Bars

by Jana Ritter - Published: 10/30/2013

A Tennessee truck driver will spend the next dozen years in prison after pleading guilty to killing three people in a fatal wreck. According to the Raleigh News Observer, 53-year old Ronald Graybeal of Newport pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Back in 2011, Graybeal was driving west on I-40 when he crashed into four cars. Three of the drivers died.

Jail cell

Prosecutors charged him with felony death by vehicle, DWI, and drug possession charges, buy a judge reduced the punishment and sentenced him to nearly 12 years Monday after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Another truck-driver related fatality occurred this week in Kansas. Police said alcohol was involved when a man driving a semi-truck collided with a mother's minivan along a curve, killing her and injuring two others. The Platte County Sheriff's Office said the wreck happened just after 8 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 45 near Waldron.

"In our preliminary investigation, we believe the semi-truck was traveling northbound on 45 Highway, crossed over the center line and struck the other two vehicles," said Erik Holland with the Platte County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's deputies said the semi first clipped a pickup truck, but then went head-on into the minivan following behind. Catherine Nienaber, of Kansas City, KS, died at the scene, and her 7-year-old son was rushed to the hospital and is in serious condition. The pickup truck driver, a 52-year-old man from Atchison, KS, was also hit and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Adam Shaw, the driver of a 2013 Freightliner semi-truck, received minor injuries and was taken into custody after the accident. Holland said Shaw is charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault. The sheriff's department said the bend on Highway 45 from Jones-Meyer Road to Interstate 435 was closed most of the day. It's a fairly busy commuter route that's seen its share of accidents in the past.

"We've had a number of accidents at this curve in the past, but as far as a number or seriousness, I couldn't tell you," Holland said. Holland said Shaw worked as a "for hire" driver for the company that the trailer belonged to. He worked for an independent company that most likely contracts out their drivers to other companies.