The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered a Texas-based truck driver out of service in the wake of a multi-vehicle crash that killed a police officer in Tennessee earlier this month.
On February 17, 2022, truck driver Christopher M. Savannah was issued a federal order declaring him an “imminent hazard” to public safety and forbidding him to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On February 3, 2022, Savannah was operating a CMV on I-75 in Loudon County, Tennessee when he failed to stop his CMV upon encountering a roadblock conducted by Sergeant Chris Jenkins of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, according to the FMCSA.
Jenkins had activated his emergency lights to warn drivers as attempted to retrieve a ladder that had fallen into the roadway.
The FMCSA says that Savannah struck two vehicles stopped ahead of the roadblock and then struck Sergeant Jenkins who had exited his patrol vehicle.
Jenkins passed away at the scene.
Another driver was injured in the crash.
Following the crash, Savannah was issued multiple citations as well as criminal charges from the state of Tennessee.
From the FMCSA:
During the post crash investigation, Mr. Savannah admitted to using marijuana the morning of the crash and marijuana was also found inside the vehicle. A drug influence evaluation conducted after the crash determined that Mr. Savannah was under the influence of marijuana and not able to operate a vehicle safely. Additionally, at the time of the crash, Mr. Savannah did not have a record of duty status for that date and the previous 7 days as required.
Follow up investigations by FMCSA revealed Mr. Savannah previously tested positive for marijuana during a pre-employment controlled substances test on March 31, 2020. As a result, he was prohibited from operating a CMV in interstate and intrastate commerce and was designated as “prohibited” in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. His commercial driver’s license was also downgraded because he failed to maintain a current medical certificate as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Despite all these prohibitions, Mr. Savannah continued to operate a CMV in blatant disregard of Federal and State regulations and the safety of the motoring public.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Savannah’s “blatant and egregious violations of the [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations] and disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public.”