FMCSA puts truck driver in fatal hit-and-run crash out of service

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 4/29/2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered a North Carolina truck driver to stop driving after a child was struck and killed last week by the driver’s truck.

At 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, a school bus on U.S. 421 in Sampson County, NC, had stopped to let a 7-year-old student off. Although the bus’s warning lights were flashing and its stop sign arm was engaged, a logging truck did not stop for a stopped bus. While passing the bus, the truck struck and killed Alyiah McKenzie Morgan.

Johnny Allen Spell, 37, the truck driver, was arrested by law enforcement officers in North Carolina for his role in the crash.

Spell, of Roseboro, NC, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, improper passing of a stopped school bus with warning devices activated, reckless driving, and driving while using or in the possession of drugs. FMCSA declared Spell an “imminent hazard to public safety.”

WNCT reported Spell was charged with DWI – the second time he has faced a DWI charge. The news station also said North Carolina troopers issued 8,000 traffic citations last October during a one-week enforcement blitz as troopers followed school buses. The state reportedly charged 16 drivers with passing a stopped school bus during the special enforcement week.

Union Elementary School brought professional counselors in to offer grief counseling to Alyiah Morgan’s classmates, WNCT reported.

In a news release, FMCSA said the investigation into the crash and Spell remains open.

“Safety is our highest priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, according to the release. “Unsafe truck drivers who endanger children and other members of the public have no business on our nation’s roads.”

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said FMCSA will “continue to assist state and local law enforcement officials, who are leading the investigation, in every way possible,” the release said. “We demand that commercial drivers operate their vehicles with a high regard for public safety.”

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