A Forest Park man was sentenced to two years of probation Monday in the 2011 death of an Indiana man killed when a tractor-trailer jackknifed on Interstate 475.
During a Monday hearing in Bibb County Superior Court, John T. Daniel, 58, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular homicide and reckless driving. Initially, he was indicted on two counts of homicide by vehicle and serious injury by vehicle.
Prosecutor John Regan said Daniel told deputies he was driving on I-475 at about 8:30 p.m., on March 18, 2011, when he started getting hot. Hed left a heater on in the sleeper area of the truck.
Daniel pulled the truck to the side of the road and went to the sleeper area, but he left the truck in a neutral gear, and the air brake wasnt engaged, Regan said.
He was in the back when he realized the truck had rolled backward across all three traffic lanes and a car was trapped underneath the truck, the prosecutor said.
Brent Burns, 30, who lived just outside Indianapolis, had been driving a Toyota Camry on the interstate about two miles south of Zebulon Road. He died in the crash.
His wife, Melissa, was in a coma for several days. Their two young sons were not injured, Regan said.
Melissa Burns attended Mondays court hearing.
Speaking to the judge and to Daniel, she said she has undergone 15 surgeries since the crash.
My injuries were life threatening, she said.
Daniel apologized to the Burns family just before he was sentenced.
I am very sorry for the pain that I caused the family, he said. If I could take his place, I would.
As part of the plea agreement, Daniel cant reapply for a commercial driving license while on probation and cant commit a traffic violation.
He also must pay a $2,500 fine.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.