Ohio driver declared imminent hazard after fatal crash, drug test
November 1, 2019
•Land Line Staff
A fatality collision and failed tests for controlled substances have led to Ohio-licensed commercial driver Gregory Alan Barnhart being declared an imminent hazard to public safety.
Barnhart may not operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The federal order from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was served Oct. 28.
Barnhart was driving a commercial truck on Saturday, Sept. 28, on state Route 534 in Milton Township, Ohio, when his vehicle crossed the center line into the oncoming traffic lane. His vehicle collided with a cargo van, killing the van’s driver and a passenger.
After the crash, Barnhart was cited for driving while under the influence of a Schedule I drug (which includes heroin, LSD, marijuana and MMDA).
Barnhart also tested positive for one or more Schedule II controlled substances (which includes narcotics oxycodone, opium, codeine and fentanyl) for which he did not possess a valid prescription.
On Sept. 29, Barnhart’s employer directed him to submit to a post-accident controlled substances testing, which is mandated by federal regulations and required to occur within 32 hours of a fatal crash. Barnhart failed to meet this requirement. He was then terminated by his employer.
On Oct. 11, Barnhart was driving a noncommercial vehicle on Interstate 76 in Milton Township, Ohio, when the vehicle left the roadway, went into the ditch, overturned and struck a tree. A passenger was transported to the hospital.
In the aftermath of the October crash, Barnhart was arrested and charged by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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.
Barnhart also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by U.S. Department of Transportation’s FMCSA for his violation of the Agency’s safety regulations.