Trial moved for trucker in deadly bus crash

| 6/16/2006

The trial for Michael Kozlowski, the trucker charged in a deadly accident in October 2005 that left five people dead, has been moved to Hudson, WI.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported that the Eau Claire County Circuit Court Judge William Gabler said media coverage in the trial’s original location of Eau Claire, WI, could cause problems in finding an impartial jury.

Kozlowski has been charged with 34 criminal charges related to the accident.

Kozlowski allegedly lost control of his truck, causing it to overturn and jackknife in the middle of Interstate 94 near Eau Claire, IN. A charter bus carrying 44 students and teachers from Chippewa Falls High School returning from a band competition then hit the truck.

Five people – including the band director and the bus driver – were killed and 29 others were injured.

Kozlowski maintains that he was trying to pull his truck off the side of the road to go to the bathroom when he hit some soft ground and lost control. The prosecution contends that he fell asleep at the wheel.

A witness testified on Feb. 24 that he had seen Kozlowski driving on the night in question and that his truck had swerved to the right and repeatedly drove over the rumble strips along the highway.