Driver declared ‘imminent hazard’ after accident that killed 4 kids

A trucker who was involved in an accident earlier this month during which four children died has been placed out of service by federal regulators.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today announced it had has declared Ohio-licensed commercial driver Corey Robert Withrow to be an imminent hazard to public safety, and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.  Withrow was served the federal order on July 17.

Four children died in this collision earlier this month for which Corey Withrow was placed out of service. by the FMCSAFour children died in this collision earlier this month for which Corey Withrow was placed out of service. by the FMCSA

On July 9 Withrow was operating a commercial truck on Interstate 70 in Wayne County, Indiana, at speeds exceeding the posted limit when he collided into a line of vehicles slowed or stopped in a construction work zone, according to a statement from the FMCSA.  Four minor children, all siblings, occupants of a private vehicle, were killed.  The driver of the vehicle, the children’s father, was severely burned in the ensuing multi-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 mobile telephone. Withrow subsequently tested positive for controlled substances, specifically, amphetamines, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine and cannabis, according to the FMCSA.

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.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Withrow’s “blatant and egregious violations of the [federal safety regulations] and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and motoring public.”

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., according to the FMCSA’s statement. 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.