A former Missouri truck driver pled guilty Monday to negligent homicide in the deaths of 10 people as the result of a truck accident in northeastern Oklahoma. Donald L. Creed, 77, of Willard, Mo., will serve 30 days in jail and 10 years on probation for his actions as part of a plea deal.
The truck accident occurred when Creed was driving a tractor-trailer rig for Associated Wholesale Grocers on June 26, 2009. Creed's rig slammed into multiple vehicles that had been stopped for another highway accident near Miami on Interstate 44. It took emergency responders multiple hours to get victims of the crash free from their vehicles. Many of the vehicles were mangled together in the crash.
Creed will serve 30 days in county jail and then be electronically monitored for the first year of probation. In addition, Creed is banned from possessing a commercial driver's license for life. If this truck accident would have occurred in a different state, Creed's sentence may have been severely different. In Oklahoma, negligent homicide is a misdemeanor crime, not a felony.
According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the truck accident was ultimately caused by Creed's inattention to the road, about 90 miles outside Tulsa. Investigators found no evidence that he tried to brake or take evasive action before slamming into the other vehicles.
Families of the 10 victims were all notified of Creed's plea agreement and collectively decided to leave sentencing up to the courts. However, a civil lawsuit on behalf of the survivor's families has been filed in Cleveland County District Court.
Source: Kansas City Star "Truck Driver Guilty in crash that killed 10" 08/02/2010