FMCSA shuts down Texas-based driver after fatal crash

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Feb. 28, 2022:

Texas-based truck driver shut down by FMCSA after fatal crash

A Texas-licensed truck driver has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration after his involvement in a fatal crash.

According to FMCSA, on Feb. 3, truck driver Christopher M. Savannah was driving on I-75 in Loudon County, Tennessee, when he was involved in a fatal crash. FMCSA says Savannah failed to stop his truck upon encountering a roadblock conducted by Sgt. Chris Jenkins of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. Jenkins had activated the emergency lights in his patrol vehicle to retrieve a ladder that had fallen on to the interstate.

Savannah struck two vehicles stopped ahead of the roadblock and then struck Jenkins, who had exited his patrol vehicle. Jenkins was killed, and the driver of another vehicle sustained injuries.

Savannah was subsequently issued multiple traffic citations, and the state of Tennessee has filed criminal charges against him.  

During the post-crash investigation, Savannah admitted to using marijuana the morning of the crash, and marijuana was also found inside the vehicle. A drug influence evaluation conducted after the crash determined that Savannah was under the influence of marijuana and not able to operate a vehicle safely.  

Additionally, at the time of the crash, Savannah did not have a record of duty status for that date and the previous 7 days as required.

Follow-up investigations by FMCSA revealed Savannah previously tested positive for marijuana during a pre-employment controlled substances test on March 31, 2020.  As a result, he was prohibited from operating a CMV in interstate and intrastate commerce and was designated as “prohibited” in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. His CDL was also downgraded because he failed to maintain a current medical certificate as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  

Despite all these prohibitions, he “continued to operate a CMV in blatant disregard of federal and state regulations and the safety of the motoring public,” FMCSA said.