River Grove truck driver Josef Slezak stood mute as a plea of not guilty was issued on his behalf today.
This week, Slezak’s charges were read to him through an interpreter a the Cheyenne County Court House.
Slezak is facing 4 counts of Class III felony manslaughter, 4 counts Class IIIA felony motor vehicle homicide and 1 count of Class IV felony motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child, for a crash that claimed the lives of 2 adults, 2 children and 1 unborn child.
The incident occurred in the early morning hours of September 9, 2012, as Slezak was traveling along Interstate 80 through western Nebraska, 40 miles from the Wyoming border, when he crashed into a line of vehicles that were stopped because of an earlier accident that had occurred because of a stalled truck.
Slezak’s truck rammed into a stopped Mustang, pushing it into a Toyota Corolla. The Corolla was then pushed under another truck.
30-year-old Christopher Schmidt was driving the Mustang, and his pregnant wife Diana R. Schmidt, 28, and the couple’s two children, Samuel Donavan Schmidt, 3, and Conner Bradley Schmidt, 2, were in the Corolla. All died at the scene.
Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub contends that Slezak was asleep at the wheel when he crashed into the row of stalled cars and was also driving in violation of HOS laws.
A trial date has been set for April 3, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
“If convicted, Slezak faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each Class III count, and a possible fine of up to $25,000 on each charge. The IIIA and IV counts each carry terms of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000 each,” the Sun Telegraph reported.