FORT WAYNE — A full year after a tractor-trailer rig slammed into a line of traffic just leaving after a red light left a Convoy woman and another woman both dead, the driver of the truck is facing formal charges.
According to media reports, truck driver Scott A. Saunders, 51, Kenosha, Wisconsin is facing a dozen felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, criminal recklessness and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.
Police investigators found no signs of an attempted stop from Saunders’ rig before it rammed into a series of five cars just starting to move. One of the cars burst into flames.
Both Sandra Dealey, 43, Convoy, and Suzanne Stephenson, 65, Monroeville, Indiana, were killed as a result of blunt force trauma. The women were in separate vehicles, and each were wearing their seat belts. Six other people were hospitalized with injuries after the pileup.
In all six vehicles were damaged in the massive crash which occurred on U.S. 30 West, just past the intersection with Doyle Road near New Haven, Indiana on Jan. 8, 2013.
As questions began to be asked as to why Saunders did not bother to slow his 70,000 loaded truck before plowing into the line of cars, reports circulated that on Saunders’ Facebook page he had left messages that suggested that he had been involved in at least two other crashes with his truck, one of them just two weeks prior to the massive collision near New Haven. The day after the fatal crash there was reportedly a Facebook post stating that he had found some help, but no other explanation was forthcoming.
The probable cause affidavit filed in the case, a video from a nearby truck stop showed that the signal had been red for 52 seconds before impact. The light had just turned green when Saunders’ truck struck. The video offered no explanation as to why Saunders could not have controlled his rig and avoided impact. Saunders told police that he was driving at around 50 mph when his truck hit the first car in the line from behind, a PT Cruiser driven by Stephenson. The rig then hit Dealey’s BMW and three other cars in what the document called Saunders’ “reckless conduct.”
The document also states, “that the defendant acted in plain, conscious, and unjustified disregard for the harm that might result of his conduct. He is a professional driver operating a massive object on our highways, fully aware that his vehicle and load could cause devastating crashes…Saunders’ multiple moving violations, failure to take action to prevent the crash despite an extended period of red light directing him to stop, combine to demonstrate Mr. Saunders’ disregard for the harm that might result and involve a substantial deviation from the acceptable standards of conduct.”
At this point, Saunders’ is not reported in custody, and no information about his whereabouts have been released.
Besides the 12 felony counts, Saunders also committed four traffic infractions: disregarding a lighted signal, following too closely, failure to yield the right of way, and speeding.