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Guilty plea in truck crash that takes lives of 3 Marine recruits

An Ohio man faces up to 31 years in prison after pleading guilty to 10 charges, most notably aggravated vehicular homicide, following a March 2010 truck accident in which three Marine Corps recruits were killed.

A dashboard video camera mounted in the semi truck the man was operating provided evidence that the driver had no reaction upon striking the vehicle carrying the recruits. He was later found to be under the influence of the drugs Valium and nordiazepam, both of which can cause mental confusion in users. The man's reactions fit those anticipated from users of the drugs, although he did not have a prescription for either.

The three young men died at the scene of the accident.

After striking the initial vehicle carrying the military recruits, the semi truck traveled another 581 feet forward. In total, the truck struck six vehicles, killed three passengers and injured nine others. Monitoring equipment from the vehicle indicate that the brakes of the truck were never pressed.

After pleading guilty to the accident, the truck driver had three aggravated vehicular-homicide charges against him dropped. This is not his first time in court -- he was convicted in the late 1980s for drug trafficking and drug abuse and on drunk driving charges in 1987, 1992 and 2000.

In the aftermath of the accident, the driver has had several civil suits filed against him and his employer. Some of the families of the deceased have been comforted by his agreement to plead guilty, saying it offers them some closure.

Source: Youngstown Vindicator, "Truck driver reaches plea deal in crash that killed 3 Marine recruits," Ed Runyan, Feb. 18, 2012

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