Missouri trucker found guilty of double manslaughter

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer | 9/5/2012

A poorly secured bulldozer came loose from the trailer hauling it in Foristell, MO, killing two women in a passenger car on July 8, 2009. The truck driver, 27-year-old Adam L. Steinmann, was found guilty on two charges of second-degree involuntary manslaughter on Aug. 31. Steinmann was also found guilty of driving with a suspended license.

Steinmann, of Marthasville, MO, was driving his truck “at an excessive speed around a curve with an improperly secured tractor,” according to the indictment. Meg Eveland, assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Charles County, spoke to Land Line.

“When he went around the curve, there were cautionary signs for 30 miles per hour, and an expert testified the minimum speed [Steinmann was traveling] would have been 42 mph,” said Eveland.

The bulldozer came off the side of the trailer at the tightest part of the curve and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic, reported Eveland. It struck the driver’s side of the car driven by 63-year-old Judith Ulery, crushing most of the car. Ulery and her 86-year-old mother, Elsie Sherman, both of Wentzville, had to be extricated and later died from their injuries.

The 42,000-pound bulldozer Steinmann was hauling was secured by two binders and was not held by any chains or straps, according to Eveland. She said the total support weight of the two binders was around 14,000 pounds. An expert testified at the trial that the total weight should have been half the weight of the item being secured.

Eveland also told Land Line that one binder had been broken and welded together, and the binder hooks were different sizes. Steinmann and his father had secured the load.

Steinmann’s license had been suspended on April 24, 2009, for non-payment of child support, according to Eveland.

Court documents show Steinmann’s bond was increased from $30,000 to $60,000 and he is prohibited from operating “any type of motor vehicle whatsoever.”

A civil suit is pending against Adam Steinmann; his father, Larry J. Steinmann; their company, Steinmann & Sons Grading, Inc.; and Lamke Trenching & Excavating Inc. and Lester J. Lamke, owners of the bulldozer.

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