Truck Driver Involved in Double Fatal Accident Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

By October 15, 2007Highway Safety

A truck driver who was involved in a fatal truck crash when his semitrailer veered across the Interstate Highway and killed a young mother and her infant was sentenced to 6 months in jail Friday.
The truck driver expressed remorse for what happened, but never settled the question of whether he fell asleep at the wheel. The semi he was driving, loaded with manhole covers, crossed the median and slammed into an SUV, killing Amanda Hieronymus, 25, and William “Will” Hieronymus III, 10 months, and critically injuring Amy Keller,and her son, Kolton Keller, 18 months.
“There is a certain degree of mystery in this case,” said District Judge Dan Boyer before handing down the sentence. “Only you know what caused you to lose control of your vehicle.”
The truck driver avoided trial by pleading guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. In testimony that was frequently interrupted by tears, the victims’ family begged Boyer to sentence the truck driver to two years in jail, the maximum.
The prosecutor told the judge how the truck driver was unable to get a clear commercial driver’s license in 2004 because he had “severe and uncontrolled” sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that interrupts normal sleep at night, causing fatigue.
She told the court that an index is used to express the severity of sleep apnea; driver’s license regulations require that medical treatment be obtained for a score of 10 or more. Hanley said the truck driver involved in the fatal accidents score was 62. Instead of returning to the doctor who issued him a provisional medical certificate, the truck driver went to a different doctor and didn’t say a word about his sleep apnea,” He was in effect doctor-shopping, to get around the rules.”
After more than an hour of testimony the judge sentenced the truck driver to two, consecutive, one-year jail sentences but suspended that in lieu of six months in the county jail and three years’ probation.