Teen won't face felony charges in trucker's death

| 3/13/2002

Prosecutors announced Wednesday they will not file felony charges against a teen driver who caused an accident that killed a truckdriver and destroyed an Alabama bridge. The teen reportedly made an improper lane change and failed to yield the right of way.

Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber's office referred the case to Birmingham city officials to consider a possible misdemeanor charge of criminally negligent homicide against Torey Santos Tubbs, 18. The charge carries a punishment up to 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,000.

A witness to the Jan. 5 tanker truck crash that killed Tim Dison, of Killen, and led to a fire and explosion that buckled a bridge over Interstate 65 near Tuscaloosa said the accident was the result of a simple driving error. Jesse Cross, who was driving just behind the two vehicles, told police that Tubbs cut across I-65 northbound in front of Dison.

The vehicles collided and Dison's tanker flipped, exploding under an overpass. The flames melted steel girders under the bridge, which caused the ramp to buckle and bend. The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed seven weeks so workers could rebuild the bridge. It opened Feb. 26.

Cross told authorities Tubbs' car was about 10 feet in front of and to the right of the tanker, and then pulled over in front of Dison. "I don't know why he did it," Cross told news reporters. "I think he just made a bad decision."

The teen reportedly does face a felony attempted murder charge in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 3 that injured a 61-year-old man. Tubbs, a passenger in the car during the drive-by, is one of three people charged in the shooting.