Truck driver remains behind bars, charges added in fatal wreck
Slezak was ordered to appear for arraignment in Cheyenne County District Court on Oct. 3. The court denied a request for a reduction in Slezak’s $1 million bond.
The Trucker Staff
SIDNEY, Neb. — An Illinois truck driver remains in jail facing numerous felony charges in the wake of an accident Sept. 9 that killed a Maryland family moving back to California.
Josef Slezak, 36, River Grove, Ill., appeared Monday in Cheyenne County District Court for a preliminary hearing on four counts of manslaughter — a Class 3 felony — four counts of motor vehicle homicide — a Class 3A felony — and one count of motor vehicle homicide involving an unborn child — a Class 4 felony.
In addition, authorities on Monday filed a second amended information that added willful reckless driving as a possible additional predicate offense for each charge.
The accident occurred on Interstate 80 near Potter, Neb., when traffic stopped for an accident in the westbound lane.
A tractor-trailer driven by Slezak rammed into 2010 Ford Mustang driven by Christopher Schmidt, 30, of Gaithersburg, Md., which in turn rammed into a 2007 Toyota Corolla that was operated by Schmidt’s wife, Diana, also of Gaithersburg, and in which the couple’s two children, Connor, 2, and Samuel, 3, were traveling.
Diana Schmidt’s car was pushed underneath the trailer of another big rig.
All four members of the Schmidt family died instantly.
An autopsy found that Diana Schmidt was 30 weeks pregnant.
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The court found Monday that it appeared that the charged offenses occurred and that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed them.
Slezak was ordered to appear for arraignment in Cheyenne County District Court on Oct. 3.
The court denied a request for a reduction in Slezak’s $1 million bond.
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