Truck Driver Gets Sentenced To 20 years For 2014 School Bus Crashby Jana Ritter - Published: 8/22/2016
A Florida truck driver has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for crashing into the back of a school bus full of children in 2014. The incident caught media attention not only because of the children injured in the wreck, but also because the truck driver’s wife had been naked in passenger seat of the cab at the time of the crash.
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According to State Troopers, 37-year-old Shannon Ford was driving a log-hauling big rig at about 2:45 pm on Sept. 29, 2014. Bradford County 911 operators received two calls from witnesses concerned about a log hauler truck that was identified as belonging to “Mo's Trucking” and that was reportedly driving in an erratic manner. The second witness that called was actually another truck driver who had been following behind the log hauler. Shortly after the call came in, Shannon’s rig was approaching a Bradford County school bus on US 301 that had it lights flashing and stop arm extended to indicate it was coming to a stop at NW 183rd Street.
Ford crashed into the back of the school bus and the impact caused the bus to be pushed off the road and through a ditch, hurling the children from their seats. The rig jack-knifed until it finally landed in the ditch as well. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but seven of the 15 students on the bus along with the bus driver were injured and taken to local hospitals. The most serious injuries among the bus victims was a young boy’s entire leg being crushed and another boy who suffered a serious skull fracture. Ford and his wife were also both seriously injured. Sherry Ford was also found naked in the truck's cab and claims that she had taken her clothes off while they were driving because she was hot and that the impact of the collision had tore her underwear off.
Terrence Jamerson, the second truck driver who had been following the couple, witnessed the crash and immediately confronted Ford at the crash site. When Ford claimed he did nothing wrong, Jamerson responded by punching him in the face. While Ford ended up pleading no contest to charges stemming from the crash, he still denied his culpability in court and claimed that the trucking company’s improper maintenance of the truck is what led to the accident. In fact, Troopers did confirm that eight of 10 brakes were defective. His wife also pleaded on his behalf. "Shannon has said so many times that he wished he was killed that day, so the kids could have no injuries. He wanted his own life taken."
However, Ford’s previous driving record was also taken into account and his wife’s pleas were no match for the numerous emotional testimonies indicating the impact of the crash on the victims. The judge sentenced Ford to 20 years in prison, five years for each of the four counts of reckless driving with serious injury. He will serve the terms consecutively and was given credit for 500 days served.