Michigan Carrier Involved In Fatal Interstate 65 Accident Has Satisfactory Rating

Carrier Under Fire
Denotes this carrier exceeds the FMCSA intervention threshold relative to its safety event grouping based upon roadside data and/or has been cited with one or more serious violations within the past 12 months during an investigation. Therefore, this carrier may be prioritized for an intervention action and roadside inspection.

On Saturday morning, a truck rear ended an SUV en route from Florida to Wisconsin.  The crash, on Interstate 65 in Kentucky, killed six people.

The Highway Star Transport truck, driven by 47-year-old Ibrahim Fetic, struck the Ford Expedition in the rear, causing it to strike another vehicle.  The Expedition then burst into flames. 62-year-old James Gallnow, 62-year-old Barbara Gollnow, 92-year-old Marion Champnise, 18-year-old Sarina Gollnow, and James and Barbara’s foster children; 10-year-old Gabriel Zumig and 8-year-old Soledad Smith died at the scene.

The couple’s other foster children, 15-year-old Hope Hoth and 12-year-old Aidian Ejnik, survived but were transported to local hospitals with severe injuries.

Kentucky State Police Master Trooper Norman Chaffins reported that Fetic saw the SUV but was traveling too closely to avoid the collision.

The truck driver is “telling us that he saw the vehicle that was in front of him and he hit the brakes and he didn’t hit them in time,”  Chaffins said. “ … There was a reason for that and we’re trying to figure out what the reason was.”

The Michigan carrier is now being scrutinized.  Highway Star has received 17 violations in the past 2 years for speeding, following Highway Startoo closely and improper lane changes, leading the FMCSA to advise states to closely inspect Highway Star’s vehicles.

Over the last two years, 12 of Highway Star’s 59 truck’s have been placed out of service and 7 of the company’s drivers have been ordered out of service. The FMCSA has given Highway Star a satisfactory rating.

“Kentucky State Police Master Trooper Norman Chaffins said Fetic was following the SUV too closely, but no charges had been filed as of Monday. Chaffins said the case will be turned over to prosecutors to decide if anyone should be charged,” the Washington Post reported.