HARRELLS, N.C. — A truck driver who did not stop for a school bus, resulting in the hit-and-run death last Tuesday of a 7-year-old girl, has been ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared North Carolina-licensed truck driver Johnny Allen Spell to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety.
On April 23, Spell, a commercial driver's license holder employed by Ricky Lucas Trucking of Roseboro, N.C., was operating a tractor-trailer in Sampson County, N.C., when he failed to stop for a school bus. The bus had engaged its warning lights and was unloading passengers. Spell's vehicle struck and killed a child as she was crossing U.S. Highway 421.
Federal investigators are also reviewing the hiring practices and compliance records of Ricky Lucas Trucking, according to a story on WRAL.com. The trucking company's owner, Ricky Lucas, hired Spell about six months ago and did not conduct a background check.
"Safety is our highest priority," outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "Unsafe truck drivers who endanger children and other members of the public have no business on our nation's roads."
Spell was arrested by North Carolina law enforcement personnel for his role in the crash. He faces several state charges, including involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, improper passing of a stopped school bus with warning devices activated, reckless driving, and driving while using or in the possession of drugs.
The investigation remains open.
"FMCSA will continue to assist state and local law enforcement officials, who are leading the investigation, in every way possible," FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said. "We demand that commercial drivers operate their vehicles with a high regard for public safety."