FMCSA declares Ohio truck driver an imminent hazard
July 23, 2020
•Land Line Staff
A lethal collision in a work zone has led to Ohio-licensed commercial driver Corey Robert Withrow to be declared an imminent hazard to public safety.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration served the federal order on July 17. He is prohibited from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
The declaration derives from a crash on July 9.
According to the FMCSA, Withrow was driving a commercial truck on Interstate 70 in Wayne County, Indiana, at speeds exceeding the posted limit when he collided with a line of vehicles slowed or stopped in a construction work zone.
Four minor children who were siblings and in a private vehicle were killed. The driver of the private vehicle, the children’s father, was severely burned in the ensuing multiple-vehicle fire.
Withrow admitted to Indiana State Police officers at the scene that prior to the crash he had been distracted by looking at his cellphone, according to the FMSCA. Withrow subsequently tested positive for controlled substances – specifically, amphetamines, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine and cannabis, according to an FMCSA report.
Withrow was charged by the state of Indiana with four counts of reckless homicide, four counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and one count of causing catastrophic injury when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
In issuing the imminent hazard out-of-service order, FMCSA said it found Withrow’s violations to be “blatant and egregious” and that his repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public “substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death.”
Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for equitable relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties of up to $1,848 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Withrow also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.