FMCSA Declares Ohio Truck Driver to be an Imminent Hazard
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Ohio-licensed commercial driver Corey Robert Withrow to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Withrow was served the federal order on July 17, 2020.
On July 9, 2020, Withrow, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, 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. Four minor children, siblings, occupants of a private vehicle, were killed. The driver of the private 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.
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. 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.