TruckingIndustry.news

Criminal Case Dropped Against Trucking Company Involved In Fatal Georgia Crash

by Jana Ritter - Published: 7/08/2016

After last month’s announcement that a grand jury had indicted both truck driver and employer, Total Transportation, on criminal charges stemming from the crash that killed five nursing students, this week Georgia prosecutors announced they are dropping the criminal case against the trucking company. However, John Wayne Johnson, the company’s driver who slammed into the nurses’ vehicle not noticing the traffic backed up from a previous crash, is still facing criminal charges and is scheduled to appear in court next week.

                                                          Charges dropped against Total Transportation

In other news
January 05, 2018 - Trucker Faces 20 Years After Pleading Guilty To Smuggling Alien Found Dead In Locked Toolbox
January 02, 2018 - Police Identify 2 Oregon Truck Drivers Killed In Fiery Head-On Crash
December 27, 2017 - Iowa First Of Eight States To Debut New Truck Parking Information System

District Attorney, Tom Durden said in a public statement that he is dropping the criminal charges (that included vehicular homicide) against the Mississippi based company, Total Transportation. He explained that he made his decision after the company agreed to spend $200,000 setting up a nonprofit group offering nursing students financial aid. He also said that although Georgia law makes it possible for corporations to be prosecuted in criminal cases, it rarely happens and even if convicted, the only punishment for a company is a fine. Robert Cheeley, attorney for three of the victims' families, agrees with Durden in that aspect. "It's kind of hard to prosecute a company. You can't put a company in jail," said Cheeley. He also revealed that the company has already agreed to pay $78 million to settle the civil suits but had some criticism about the 200K being used for a non-profit group. “It’s interesting that they set up a nonprofit organization. They set up a 501c3, and the sole purpose of that would be to entitle it to get a tax deduction,” he said. Cheeley says the families would have preferred to see the money being used to improve the safety of trucks. “Do a better job hiring drivers, cameras in cabs of drivers, install an autonomous braking system so the truck will stop itself if there’s traffic ahead,” he suggested.

                                                        Five nurses killed in crash

The father of Abbie Deloache, one of the young women killed in the crash, said that it needs to go a lot deeper and requires real changes to the company’s leadership. “When you start taking human value and life over the financial gain, that’s when leadership or CEO needs to be changed,” said Jimmy DeLoach. He also said he wants the company to pay $1 million a year for every year the driver could possibly be sentenced to jail. “So if we’ve got a 5-year sentence, even if the driver walks away, he can put $5 million into a funding for the nursing school,” Jimmy DeLoach said.

The depositions from the civil lawsuits revealed that Total Transportation had hired Johnson even though he had told them of being fired by a previous employer for falling asleep at the wheel. Johnson also admitted under oath that the deadly crash was his fault but insisted he was awake and did not fall asleep at the wheel.


Kirk Righetti
Kirk Righetti
wanting to put cameras in cabs, and installing a break system if there is back up traffic, this all sounds good but it still only puts a bandaide on the problem. The two issues here are not being addressed. Hiring people that should be in the truck. Hiring just anyone off the street isn't the way to fill a position. If you put cameras in trucks it only confirms that a company doesn't trust a driver, but will put them behind the wheel. I feel the company needs to back their driver up or start screening more strickly.
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
totally correct
Kirk Righetti
Kirk Righetti
this is how corporate companies are. they hire just anyone off the streets, gets big tax breaks, and then leave the driver out in the cold if they get in to much legal trouble. The corporation will never go down in legal but the driver will end up either in prison or worse.
Michael R. Beals
Michael R. Beals
It's amazing what you can buy yourself out of when you have money, I'm sure the driver would be free too if he had a big bank account
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
thanks for that!
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
Amen. Never met a truck driver that said ok let's go see which family we can destroy today.. There just doing a job supporting their family like you and I. Granted he should have never been texting. But to allow this company to get out of a criminal charge becuz they agreed to pay money is nothing short of a crime in its self...
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
I personally find it disrespectful to all the family's that lost someone. It's almost like putting a price tag on their life. So sad.
Mark Kalmowitz
Mark Kalmowitz
That's what a nurses life is worth these days, $40,000? Disgraceful that this company could buy their way out. Hope the families all file civil suits against the company and bankrupt them!
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
Yep it's a disgrace
Stephen Carr
Stephen Carr
The disgrace is that they where in legal issues to start with. That's the true issue
James Fish
James Fish
The Onguard systems don't make a truck more safe. My company uses them and I hate it
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
Agreed
James McCreight
James McCreight
Filing civil suit against CTi soon! And never drop charges against a carrier! That's ludicrous!
Kate Campbell
Kate Campbell
They should not have been dropped against the company.
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
This is complete BS...
Tom Anderson
Tom Anderson
Too many s**t companies out here, hire anyone and dont pay decent wages. You reap what you sow. All the electronic gadgets cant take the place of a good driver and sure as hell cant make a bad one better.
Elwood Decker
Elwood Decker
Our own government gives tax breaks to those companies who 'fill seats' aka 'create jobs'. They don't care if they are qualified, in fact extra incentive to those who hire foreign workers unfamiliar with our culture, let alone rules of the road. These companies get incentives, tax breaks, etc. How does the little guy compete with that? It seems the more 'help' politicians provide the harder it gets to run a small business.
Samuel Lee
Samuel Lee
Total of MS is operated by USExpress. ..so is Arnold. ..every time a major fatality accident occurs USExpress is invited to manage the company under a new structure. ...the drivers milage is cut %33 and everyone po a ys for one major accident.
Everett Whisenhunt
Everett Whisenhunt

Everett Whisenhunt
Everett Whisenhunt

Dave Brendel
Dave Brendel
Aren't they owned by us express
Michael Goldman
Michael Goldman
Yup
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
Yea
Dave Brendel
Dave Brendel
Witch there owner is the president of the ata just like all the other major companies nothing be done
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
Thanks ! big fan here
Justin Hoke
Justin Hoke
Sorry folks, I agree with them at this point. This driver killed 5 people. It's 100% the drivers fault,, not the company's.
Michael Goldman
Michael Goldman
Doesn't matter. The company hired the driver who is covered by company insurance. While it may not be the companies fault, this is why we pay so much insurance a year.
Rebecca David
Rebecca David
Every company that hires a driver does the leg work. Background,school,drug test Etc.... They even do a road test with them and at time put them with a trainer. The problem I have is that they were allowed to buy their way out of criminal charges. Is that not illegal in its self? If I went to Walmart stole something then said hey here's a million dollars make that ho away that is bribery... Plain and simple...
Justin Hoke
Justin Hoke
Yup
Al Reigert
Al Reigert
Whoever hired that driver should be in jail also. That's a great way to stop hiring idiots