A Bosnian truck driver who caused a 2003 wreck that killed a North
Carolina family of five has been sentenced to 15 to 30 months in prison.
The Associated Press reported that Ejub Grcic, 57, pleaded guilty in September to five counts of
involuntary manslaughter as part of an agreement that allowed him to stay in
the U.S. He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful activities for driving
a commercial vehicle while unable to speak English.
Police say Grcic’s truck was in excess of the road’s ten-ton weight
limit when he ran a stop sign and crashed into a car in July 2003.
Killed in the wreck were Janet Kerr, 35; Kathleen Kerr, 13; Kenneth
Kerr III, 4; and Alessandra Hall, 16, who was Janet Kerr’s daughter from a
previous marriage. The driver, Kenneth Kerr Jr., 35, died the morning of July
8. All were from Smithfield, NC.
Grcic was originally scheduled to be sentenced Monday, Nov. 28, in
Butler County, PA, court, but the hearing was delayed when an interpreter
called in sick and officials couldn’t find anyone else who could speak his
The AP reported
that Judge George Hatcher said that, in sentencing Grcic, he balanced the
horrible effects of the accident on the victims’ family with Grcic’s remorse
and his background of having fled war-torn Bosnia.
According to a July 2003 news story in Land Line Magazine, Grcic was allegedly
part owner in a one-man trucking company, EH Transport, based in Utah.
While it is unclear whether Grcic obtained
his license illegally, the FBI found that he did obtain it from one of three
third-party contractors that were indicted by a federal grand jury in November.
The contractors were part of a scheme that
allowed people to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to one of the contractors
and walk away with a commercial driver’s license from the state 15 minutes
later. For a few hundred dollars more, they could even buy the answers to the
The FBI investigation, called Operation Road Warrior, found that Grcic
was unable to speak, read or write in English at the time he obtained his
license. Another man licensed by one of the contractors was a deaf mute.