Texas trucker declared imminent hazard for crash with school bus

Updated Apr 6, 2024
Green highway sign with 'Shut Down' in white

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently declared Texas-licensed commercial driver Jerry Hernandez to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate or intrastate commerce. Hernandez was served the federal order on March 29.

On March 22, Hernandez was operating a large concrete pumping commercial vehicle for FJM Concrete Pumping LLC, when he crossed the center line and hit an oncoming school bus transporting pre-K students. As a result of the crash, the school bus flipped over and a 5-year-old child was killed, the 33-year-old driver of a car behind the bus was killed, and dozens of passengers were injured.  

Following the crash, Hernandez admitted to the investigating law enforcement officers that he had smoked marijuana the night before the crash and had used cocaine in the early morning hours before the crash. 

Under the FMCSA regulations, drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are subject to a variety of prohibitions on the use of controlled substances and must successfully complete a return to duty process following any positive drug test. Before the crash, Hernandez had been prohibited from operating CMVs three times for drug use, and he was currently prohibited from operating CMVs at the time of the crash based on an April 2023 positive test which revealed he had been using cocaine. Hernandez is listed as “prohibited” in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and FMCSA is working with the state of Texas to disqualify his CDL. 

As a result of the accident, Hernandez was charged with criminally negligent homicide.

FMCSA’s Imminent Hazard Disqualification Order states that Hernandez’s “blatant violations of the FMCSRs and disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.” 

Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal Imminent Hazard Disqualification Order may result in civil penalties of up to $6,974. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.

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A copy of the Imminent Hazard Order issued to Jerry Hernandez is available here.