April 26, 2013
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared North Carolina-licensed truck driver Johnny Allen Spell to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
On April 23, 2013, Spell, a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder employed by Ricky Lucas Trucking of Roseboro, N.C., was operating a tractor-trailer in Sampson County, N.C., when he failed to stop for a school bus. The bus had engaged its warning lights and was unloading passengers. Spell's vehicle struck and killed a child as she was crossing U.S. Highway 421.
"Safety is our highest priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Unsafe truck drivers who endanger children and other members of the public have no business on our nation's roads."
Spell was arrested by North Carolina law enforcement personnel for his role in the hit-and-run crash. He faces numerous state charges, including involuntary manslaughter, felony hit and run, improper passing of a stopped school bus with warning devices activated, reckless driving, and driving while using or in the possession of drugs.
FMCSA's imminent hazard out-of-service order for Spell is based upon his disregard of federal safety regulations and interstate operations.
The investigation remains open.
"FMCSA will continue to assist state and local law enforcement officials, who are leading the investigation, in every way possible," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We demand that commercial drivers operate their vehicles with a high regard for public safety."