Trucking company Total Transportation of Mississippi was flagged by federal authorities as a carrier at risk for calamity prior to Wednesday’s wreck that claimed the lives of 5 nursing students and injured three others.
Fatal Accident Under Investigation
Seven vehicles were involved in the early morning accident on I-16 in southern Georgia, which is still under investigation. According to the Georgia State Patrol, it is believed that the Total Transportation of Mississippi truck plowed into eastbound traffic after it slowed for a separate accident. One of the cars carrying the nursing students caught fire during the accident. Witnesses stopped to try to put out the fire and help the students, but the fire burned too quickly.
Report Reveals Poor Safety Record for Trucking Company
A U.S. Department of Transportation report said that that Total Transportation of Mississippi driver safety record was worse than 90% of comparable trucking companies. In the past two years, they have been cited for 266 unsafe driving violations, including 107 citations for speeding, 45 violations for not following a traffic control devices, 9 violations for driving while using a cellphone and 5 for following too closely. They were also cited for nearly 600 maintenance violations in the past 2 years.
Driver Distraught Over Accident
John Wayne Johnson, the truck driver involved in the accident, is just one of Total Transportation of Mississippi’s 900 drivers. The federal report does not reflect Johnson’s personal record, but the record of Total Transportation of Mississippi as a whole.
A witness who tried to put out the fire and rescue the students reported that Johnson said he wished that he died too. He has not yet been charged in the accident.