“Drunk” And “Suspended” Truck Driver Pleads Guilty In Crash That Killed 3 People
Dauphin County, Pennsylvania – A Mississippi truck driver who was drunk at the time the tractor-trailer he was operating along I-83 last October plowed into traffic killing 3 people including a 16-month old girl, pleaded guilty to a slew of felonies on Tuesday.
According to Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office, Jack E. Satterfield III pleaded guilty to three counts of homicide by vehicle, three counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, and related offenses.
The crash occurred on October 12 at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Investigators said Satterfield failed to stop for slowed traffic and struck vehicles in the left and center lanes while in a construction zone.
Killed in the crash was 24-year-old Zachary Lybrand from Middletown, and his 16-month old daughter Eliana, along with 22-year-old Ethan VanBochoven from Pompton Plains, New Jersey.
Additionally, seven motorists were injured.
Dash cam footage of the crash has since been released and you can view it below.
(VIEWER’S DISCRETION IS ADVISED)
After the accident, Satterfield fled the scene, according to his arrest affidavit.
He crossed the interstate, hopped a fence, and ran to a hotel parking lot where he watched the crash scene from a distance, the criminal complaint states.
Investigators said the truck had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.
Authorities later apprehended Satterfield and said he admitted he was operating the commercial vehicle after having consumed five double-shot margaritas and two or three beers at a New Jersey restaurant earlier that evening.
Satterfield was taken to a local hospital for a voluntary blood draw to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC) along with other substances.
His BAC was measured at .152%. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is .08%.
Driving On A Suspended CDL
Even more disturbing details surfaced shortly after the crash.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported Satterfield was found to have been driving on a suspended CDL stemming from an arrest on a misdemeanor drug charge in February 2018 which he ultimately pleaded guilty to.
On February 15, 2018, police found Satterfield in a tractor-trailer parked behind an abandoned building in Mississippi.
In his possession was a crack pipe, a meth pipe and less than one-tenth of a gram of methamphetamine, according to court records.
The truck was running and several other people were with him.
Satterfield was then sentenced to probation and was ordered to attend drug rehab.
It’s unclear whether he ever attended.
What is also unclear is if his employer, Minnesota-based Green Tree Logistics, knew his CDL was suspended at the time of last October’s fatal crash.
Satterfield is being held without bail in Dauphin County Prison.
He will be sentenced on August 6 in a hearing before Judge Deborah E. Curcillo.
Curcillo will administer a sentence after a complete pre-sentence investigation has been completed, according to Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.
Suit Filed Alleging Trucking Company “Should Have Known”
Jessica Lybrand, who lost her husband, Zachary, and her 16-month old daughter Eliana in the crash, filed a lawsuit against Satterfield and Green Tree Logistics late last year.
The suit alleges Green Tree Logistics should have known Satterfield was not fit to operate a commercial vehicle and had a suspended license.
Lybrand’s attorney, Mark Tanner, said Satterfield should have never been behind-the-wheel and intends to hold Satterfield and Greentree Logistics responsible.
“The people that placed him behind the wheel of an 80-ton tractor-trailer should have cared enough to investigate his background,” Tanner said at the time of the filing.
Click HERE to learn more about Lybrand’s suit.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to monitor new developments.