Prominent trucker faces child pornography, child sex abuse charges

By Land Line staff | 5/30/2019

An award-winning truck driver celebrated for his more than 3.5 million safe driving miles has been arrested on charges of sexual assault of a child and production of child pornography.

According to the FBI San Antonio field office, Michael Dewayne Sheeds, 61, of Bandera, Texas, was arrested on May 22 by members of the San Antonio Child Exploitation Task Force on a federal production-of-child-pornography charge.

Sheeds had been previously arrested on Jan. 7 on charges of sexual assault with a child.
According to Bandera County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Matt King, Sheeds was indicted in April by a Texas grand jury on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, two counts of continuous sexual assault of a child, three counts of sexual assault of a child, prohibited sexual contact, and indecent sexual contact with a child. He remained in the Bandera County Jail on the state charges until he made bail on May 17.

As part of the state investigation, deputies obtained a Texas search warrant for Sheeds’ vehicle and discovered several mobile devices and sought the FBI’s assistance in reviewing the digital evidence.

According to the federal complaint, the FBI recovered child pornography on the defendant’s cell phone and arrested Sheeds on the federal charge. He is in federal custody.

The production of child pornography charge carries a penalty of a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Thompson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. A spokeswoman for the FBI said she anticipates the case will be presented to the grand jury in June.

Sheeds is well known in the trucking industry as he was chosen as an honoree for the TA & Petro Citizen Driver award in 2015 and the Pilot Flying J Road Warrior award for 2017. A driver for Werner Enterprises, Sheeds also was named to the American Trucking Association’s America’s Road Team for 2017-18.

As part of the Citizen Driver award, the Petro off Interstate 10 in San Antonio, Texas, was renamed the Michael Sheeds Petro Stopping Center.

A spokesman for TA & Petro declined comment on Sheeds’ arrest, but the company’s website no longer lists Sheeds’ name on the truck stop. Sheeds also is no longer listed as a recipient on the Citizen Driver webpage.

He also was removed from Pilot’s list of Road Warrior winners.

“We are aware of the charges and pending investigation involving Michael Sheeds,” Pilot Flying J said in a statement. “If the allegations are true, this is a clear violation of the rules and regulations surrounding our Road Warrior contestants. Pending the investigation, we have removed him from all communications. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this extremely sad and unfortunate situation.”

ATA did not immediately return a request for comment.

Following Sheeds’ initial arrest, his wife, Donna Sheeds, died on March 4. According to King, the final toxicology report is pending, but the preliminary investigation determined the death to be a suicide.

 

 

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