An Indianapolis truck driver was found guilty of 10 felony and 20 misdemeanor charges for a May 2018 crash in Wisconsin that injured 20 students and chaperones on a school bus. Wayne Murphy, 42, was found guilty of operating his tractor-trailer under the influence of narcotics when he struck the school bus, which had stopped on the shoulder of an interstate highway due to engine problems.
The bus was carrying 33 passengers from Hope Christian School: Semper in Milwaukee to the Wisconsin Dells for a field trip.
Murphy’s erratic driving had been witnessed by another truck driver who called the owner, Dahl Trucking. The trucking company in turn called the Wisconsin State Patrol and asked it to locate the truck and perform a welfare check on the driver. A patrolman was dispatched and found the truck after the collision had occurred.
A partial bottle and two empty bottles of an anti-depressant medication were found in the cab of the truck. Murphy told police he had taken one and a half of the pills that morning. The label indicated the dosage for the medication was one per day and warned that it could cause drowsiness and make it dangerous to operate a motor vehicle.
Murphy could be sentenced to as much at 126 years in prison and $260,000 in fines when he returns to court on Nov 4.
A Georgia truck driver pleaded guilty to falling asleep behind the wheel and causing a fatal tour bus crash in California. He was sentenced to four years in prison. Bruce Guilford, 51, of Covington, Ga., had been charged with 42 counts of reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter.
Guilford fell asleep on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs in October 2016 while traffic was momentarily stopped for utility work. His truck did not move when traffic started flowing again and it was struck by a motorcoach, operated by USA Holiday, as vehicles attempted to pass it. The owner and driver of the bus was killed along with 12 passengers.
When Guilford appeared in court to face charges a California Highway Patrol officer testified that he had exceeded the allowable driving hours nearly every day of a round trip between Eufaula, Alabama, and Salinas, California.
A tour bus driver operating in Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in September to charges of negligent homicide after striking and killing two pedestrians near the National Mall in December 2018.
Gerard James, 46, of Baltimore, was driving for Eyre Bus, Tour and Travel of Maryland. Police said he was talking on his cell phone when he struck Monica Adams Carlson, 61, the mayor of Skagway, Alaska, and her mother, Cora Louise Adams, 85, of Elbe, Washington. The bus dragged one of the women 183 feet before stopping.
James told police he had not seen the women, who were in a crosswalk. He will be sentenced on Nov. 15.