A Tennessee truck driver was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for causing a 2016 crash that killed two people while he was intoxicated and driving with a revoked CDL.
Fifty-five year old truck driver Randall Weddle was sentenced in a Knox County, Maine, court on March 23 after he was found guilty on fifteen charges, including aggravated DUI and manslaughter.
The charges stem from a crash that happened two years ago for which Weddle was placed out of service by the FMCSA. Christina Torres-York, 45, and Paul Fowles, 74, were killed in the crash.
Two people killed in crash involving lumber truck on Route 17 in Knox County #Maine. https://t.co/VRFfVwCNQP pic.twitter.com/Kf5vgPuT9i
— Portland Press Herald (@PressHerald) March 18, 2016
From the FMCSA’s account of the fatal crash:
On March 18, 2016, Weddle was operating a large commercial truck for Tennessee-based R&E Logistics, Inc., USDOT No. 942198. At approximately 4:47 p.m., while traveling on Route 17 in Knox County, Maine, the trailer portion of Weddle’s rig crossed the centerline, tipped over, and began scattering its load of lumber across the roadway. At the time of the crash, Weddle’s truck was traveling approximately 80 miles-per-hour in a posted 55 miles-per-hour speed limit zone.
As the truck and trailer and its load of lumber continued to slide down the roadway at a high rate of speed, a pick-up truck, an SUV, and a minivan, in turn, were struck. The pick-up truck was crushed, killing its driver. The collision with the SUV caused it to roll over once before it collided with another vehicle. The minivan hit by Weddle’s truck was also partially buried under the lumber load; a fire ensued, engulfing the minivan. The sole occupant of the minivan was killed. Two additional crash victims were airlifted to the hospital.
A field sobriety test conducted on Weddle by Maine State Police at the scene of the crash detected the presence of alcohol. State Police also found a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky in Weddle’s truck.
Investigators also discovered that at the time of the crash, Weddle’s CDL had been revoked by the state of Virginia for a conviction of driving while intoxicated.
Investigators further found that Weddle was in violation of multiple federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Weddle had 48 driving crime convictions prior to the fatal 2016 crash, including 12 DUI convictions in four states.
Justice William Stokes told the court during the sentencing that he was “completely stunned with Mr. Weddle’s record” and that he was “genuinely mystified” about how Weddle was able to obtain a CDL in the state of Tennessee.