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Truck Driver Gets Five Years for Georgia Crash Killing Five Women

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that a tractor-trailer driver will serve five years in prison after pleading guilty to causing a crash on I-16 that killed five Georgia Southern University nursing students and seriously injured two others. John Wayne Johnson, 56, admitted in a deposition that he’d used his cellphone to text and exchange sexually provocative messages with a woman as he drove on I-16, but he denied using his phone at the time of the crash. He pled guilty to nine counts, including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide.

This case clearly demonstrates how tragedy can unfold when a trucking company does not properly screen its drivers. Sixteen months before the I-16 crash, while Johnson was driving for another company, he fell asleep at the wheel of his rig. That tractor-trailer wound up rolling over. Johnson was fired, but another company, Total Transportation of Mississippi subsequently hired him. In court, Johnson could offer no explanation for his failure on I-16 to stop his truck from plowing into other vehicles. Some families of the I-16 victims believe that Johnson had fallen asleep behind the wheel again.

Did truck driver fatigue lead to five deaths on I-16?

Driver fatigue is a major cause of commercial truck accidents, which is why federal regulations limit the amount of time a driver can spend behind the wheel of a rig. However, monitoring trucking companies for compliance is nearly impossible, so drivers and their employers regularly violate these rules. Too often, it takes a major accident to bring to light a company’s disregard for the law.

In June, a grand jury indicted Total Transportation along with Johnson. But the district attorney eventually dropped charges against the company in exchange for Total Transportation paying $200,000 to establish an education fund for student nurses.

If you’ve suffered a serious injury in an Atlanta-area truck accident, speak with a dedicated attorney at McMenamy Law LLC to learn more about your rights.

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McMenamy Law is located in Atlanta, GA and serves clients in and around Atlanta, Decatur, Scottdale, Clarkston, Tucker, Avondale Estates, Pine Lake, Stone Mountain, Smyrna, Marietta, Mableton, Roswell, Conley, Austell, Lawrenceville, Forest Park, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Cobb County, Rockdale County, Cherokee County, Douglas County, Clayton County and Henry County.

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