Truck driver in Texas wreck indicted

| 12/22/2004

A truck driver arrested in connection with a Texas collision that killed 10 people was indicted earlier this month by a grand jury on nine charges of manslaughter, local media outlets reported.

Police arrested Miroslaw Jozwiak, 45, a resident of Daytona Beach, FL, after the wreck Sept. 20 on U.S. 75 near Sherman, TX, which is close to the Oklahoma border. The impact, which involved two automobiles and Jozwiak’s truck, killed 10 people. Police allege that a tractor-trailer crossed the centerline and collided with the pickup and an SUV.

The accident occurred inside Sherman city limits, a little more that a half mile south of Farm-to-Market Highway 1417 on a four-lane, divided section of U.S. 75, police said.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found that the northbound tractor-trailer had crossed over into the southbound lanes, where it collided with the pickup and SUV. Among the dead were five people from one family – members of three generations.

Jozwiak was initially charged with 10 counts of criminally negligent homicide. ABC News indicated that the prosecutor in the case was holding back one charge to gather additional evidence.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Jozwiak had Perazine, a component of an anti-psychotic drug that causes drowsiness, in his urine. But his defense attorney says it was not found in his blood, indicating it had been metabolized.

In addition to the possible involvement of prescription drugs, the case has drawn attention because of law-enforcement officials’ contention that Jozwiak reportedly spoke little English.

The case also caught the attention of state and federal officials in Illinois. Jozwiak received his CDL at the McCook facility in suburban Chicago, which was at the center of the Illinois CDL scandal several years ago.

Federal investigators allege that state officials at the McCook facility took bribes in exchange for commercial driver’s licenses in the 1990s. More than 60 people have been convicted in the case, dubbed Operation Safe Road, “and they’re still keeping score,” said Dave Druker, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.