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One Of Us Is In Deep Trouble

Police in New Jersey are holding a truck driver after an extremely wild reckless driving event in the Garden State, in part because he had fifty-five prior arrests in California.

The incident was also fatal for 24-year-old Jeffrey Oakley of Elizabethtown, N.J. The truck driver – 57-year-old James Williams – originally gave authorities an address in Brighton, Colorado. But since he had used ten different aliases and eight different Social Security numbers in the past, it can be hard to keep things straight. According to prosecutors, Mr. Williams crashed through a police barricade and drove recklessly while evading officers for another three and a half miles, ramming Mr. Oakley’s car and killing him in the process. After an off-duty officer fired shots at Mr. Williams’ truck, he crashed. Officers, who noted a strong odor of alcohol when they pulled him from the wreckage, arrested Mr. Williams on several criminal charges, including second-degree vehicular homicide and first-degree aggravated manslaughter.

In court, his attorney argued for a bail reduction because his injuries made him an unlikely flight risk, but Judge Brenda Coppola Cuba refused to reduce Mr. Williams’ bail from $2 million.

SMS Scores

It is a good bet that Mr. Williams’ legal problems, or at least most of them, did not involve moving or safety violations, because if they had, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would have taken action long ago. For the last several years, the FMCSA has used the Safety Management System to keep an eye on several key categories, including:

  • Unsafe Driving: Almost any moving violation, whether it occurred in a commercial or private vehicle, goes on a trucker’s SMS report.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Any issue, no matter how minor, goes onto the SMS report.
  • Crash History: Although there is a difference between being faulted in a police report and being held legally responsible, the government usually relies on the former source for SMS purposes.

Other categories include alcohol and controlled substance use, HOS (hours of service) compliance, and hazardous materials compliance. If your SMS score is too high, it will be hard to get, or keep, a trucking job. An attorney can help ensure that your score is accurate, which saves you money.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.