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Truck Wreck! 7 Children Die; Florida Driver Gets 7 Years

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posted on Jul, 1 2008 @ 08:45 PM
Lake Butler is a small town (1,986) in a small Union County (14,673) located about 65 miles west and south of Jacksonville, Florida. Lake Butler is the county seat. The major employer is the Union Correctional Institute, a medium security prison housing 2,700 inmates and a staff of 800.

The driver of a tractor-trailer that killed seven children in Jan. 2006 has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Alvin Wilkerson appeared before judge Maurice Giunta in Union County on Thursday, June 12, pleading no contest to seven counts of vehicular homicide and 10 counts of culpable negligence.

The accident occurred in mid-afternoon when a school bus stopped on SR 121 to let off some passengers. A car stopped immediately behind the school bus. A loaded tractor-trailer truck heading the same direction failed to stop in time to avoid a terrible crash. The truck ran up over the car and struck the bus. The car was crushed and burst into flames. The bus was knocked across the road, injuring 9 passengers and the driver.

Wilkerson, holding his head down in tears as he listened to the victim’s statements before sentencing, also spoke and apologize three times to the families. "I listened to your comments and I truly am sorry for what happened." He said that he does suffer daily and that the only way he makes it through is by asking God daily to forgive him. "I am not a heartless person, please don't look at me as a heartless person," Wilkerson said.

There were seven children in the car. The oldest, 15, was driving but had no license. The car carried more occupants than it was equipped with seat belts (6). That did not cause the accident and was never an issue. It will be in civil cases however.

In a statement to the packed court before sentencing, the judge apologized for losing his composure. "There is no one here today that wants to be here. I [as a judge] lack the capacity to inflict pain upon Mr. Wilkerson that would be able to take away the pain and loneliness felt by these families." As part of the plea deal, the manslaughter charges were dropped. He plead guilty to 7 counts of vehicular homicide and 10 counts of culpable negligence. He agreed to testify fully and truthfully in any civil suits relating to the case. Prosecutors said this case is the first in Florida where a truck driver was sentenced to prison for culpable negligence for falling asleep behind the wheel.

It was revealed that Mr. Wilkerson had been driving 30 of the previous 34 hours before the crash. Mr. Wilkerson introduced a number of text messages from his employer, Crete Carrier Corporation, a Nebraska company. “I need you to keep up” one of the messages read. Another said “What’s taking you so long?” "My company knew where I was and what I was doing,” the 34 year old Wilkerson told prosecutors in his sworn statement.

Here is the reason
I posted this heartbreaking story. From the article: The Crete Carrier Company has a SATISFACTORY record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. OK, you say, “So what?” But wait, there’s more. 459 Crete trucks have been involved in crashes, 12 of which involved FATALITIES over the past two years (2004 and 2005).

Q. How would you get an UNSATISFACTORY record with the FMCSA?

What size government do we need? Do you think our presnt size of government is A) too large, B) too small of C) about right? 32 levee breaks this year on the Mississippi. St. Paul bridge fell down last year. Lead paint in children’s toys. E-coli in your lettuce. 30 million pounds of meat recalled. Then 150 million pounds of meat recalled, meat processed over a 2 year period, half sold to schools. Lately, tomatoes have been carrying food poisoning. Active ingredients made in foreign factories the FDA does not know the location of. Do you understand why the South Korean students DO NOT WANT AMERICAN FOOD PRODUCTS? RISKING MAD COW DISEASE.

The FDA is not pro-active.
They wait for the CDC to notify them of cases before they begin to act. A few hundred inspectors doing the job we formerly had 1000s doing. The so-called speculators that are wrecking our economy and starving millions to death for instant profits, regulated by the Commodity Future Trading Commission, staffed by 405 workers, but need 4,000!

Hey, that’s SMALL government! In fact, most ANTI government types think government is STILL TOO LARGE! Story from Florida Times-Union, June 29, 2008, page A1, A6.
Commentary is my own.

[edit on 7/2/2008 by donwhite]

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