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Concrete truck driver in bus crash deemed ‘imminent hazard’

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The concrete truck driver in a wreck involving a bus full of preschool children had failed multiple prior drug tests. 

43-year-old Jerry Hernandez swerved into oncoming traffic on March 22nd and struck a school bus, killing a 5-year-old on the bus and a 33-year-old driving behind the bus. 

Since the wreck, Hernandez has been deemed an “imminent hazard” and is disqualified from driving commercial vehicles, according to an order issued by the FMCSA on March 29th. 

Hernandez had already been prohibited from driving three times since 2020 due to positive drug tests, but “state driver’s licensing agencies are not required to downgrade CDL statuses until 11/18/2024 according to changes In the Federal Register,” states the affidavit. 

According to KXAN, the timing of the federal rule change resulted in Hernandez’s CDL showing up as valid through the Texas DPS but “prohibited” within the Clearinghouse database. The FMCSA told KXAN they are working with the Texas DPS to list Hernandez as “prohibited” in their system as well. A  regional public information officer also told KXAN that the only other way to proactively stop a driver prohibited within the Clearinghouse is a state or federal audit into the company, truck driver, or a specific incident – like this instance. 

The truck Hernandez was operating was owned by FJM Concrete LLC, a company owned by Francisco Martinez. Martinez told investigators that he “had not verified the status of Mr. Hernandez’s commercial driver’s license or his status through the federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse database before employing him as a driver.”

From the hospital following the crash, Hernandez admitted to state troopers that he had smoked marijuana the night before and had taken cocaine at about 1 a.m. before the crash. He also stated he had gotten very little sleep, and even dozed off multiple times during the conversation with troopers. 

Hernandez has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, which is a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $10,000. 

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