A California-based truck driver has been sentenced to prison for a 2019 crash that killed three people in Nebraska.
On Wednesday, December 15, 36 year old truck driver Kenneth Kratt from Madera, California, was sentenced to to three to five years in prison in Buffalo County District Court.
Kratt pleaded no contest to three felony manslaughter charges in October 2021.
The charges were issued following a fatal pileup that occurred in a construction zone on eastbound I-80 in Buffalo County, Nebraska, around 3 p.m. on September 20, 2019.
Traffic was slowed in the construction zone on I-80 near the Gibbon exit when Kratt’s semi truck rear ended a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Ryan Vanicek, 37. His truck also struck a Chevrolet Equinox driven by Scott Gaylord, 54, pushing the vehicle under the trailer of another semi truck.
Seven vehicles were ultimately involved in the pileup crash.
The Silverado pickup caught fire following the crash.
Vanicek and passenger Daniel Seelhoff, 50, died as a result of the crash. Gaylord was also killed.
Three other people suffered injuries in the crash. Kratt wasn’t seriously hurt.
Nebraska State Police said that Kratt was traveling at speeds of 75 to 78 m.p.h. in a 65 m.p.h. zone when the crash occurred.
Kratt told the victim’s families who appeared in court, “I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done. I have no excuse. No reason for what happened. I wish there was something I could to do to take it back.”
According to the Kearny Hub, Kratt faced up to 20 years on each felony manslaughter charge, which could have resulted in a 60 year sentence if the charges ran consecutively instead of concurrently. Prosecutors requested the maximum sentence.
The judge credited Kratt with 30 days of time served.