The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared North Carolina-licensed truck driver, Johnny Allen Spell, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
Federal officials and local investigators say Spell failed to stop for a school bus, which had engaged its warning lights and was unloading passengers on U.S. Hwy 421 in Sampson County, North Carolina. Published reports indicate log truck Spell was driving struck and killed 7-year-old Alyiah Morgan as she got off the bus. The incident occurred April 23.
FMCSA is conducting an investigation of the company Spell drove for, Ricky Lucas Trucking. Reports indicate three of Lucas' trucks had failed roadside inspections over the past two years, and one of its drivers had been placed out-of-service.
A Wilmington, NC television station, WWAY, reports that Spell has a lengthy criminal history, including several drug possession charges, two DUI convictions and manufacturing liquor without a permit.
Spell faces numerous state charges for his role in the crash, 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.
“FMCSA will continue to assist state and local law enforcement officials, who are leading the investigation, in every way possible,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “We demand that commercial drivers operate their vehicles with a high regard for public safety.”
FMCSA said the imminent hazard out-of-service order for Spell is based upon his disregard of federal safety regulations and interstate operations. The investigation continues.