WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared a Texas-licensed trucker to be an imminent hazard to public safety after a wreck on Feb. 3 that killed a Tennessee sheriff’s sergeant.
Christopher M. Savannah was served the federal order, which directed him to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle (CMV), on Feb. 17, according to an FMCSA news release.
The FMCSA news release stated that Savannah failed to stop his rig after encountering a roadblock conducted by Sergeant Chris Jenkins of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.
Jenkins had activated the emergency lights in his patrol vehicle to retrieve a ladder that had fallen on to the interstate. Savannah struck two vehicles stopped ahead of the roadblock and then struck Jenkins, who had exited his patrol vehicle, according to the FMCSA.
Jenkins was killed, and the driver of another vehicle sustained injuries.
Savannah was subsequently issued multiple traffic citations and the State of Tennessee has filed criminal charges against him.
During the post-crash investigation, Savannah admitted to using marijuana the morning of the crash, and marijuana was also found inside the vehicle.
A drug influence evaluation conducted after the crash determined that Savannah was under the influence of marijuana and not able to operate a vehicle safely. Additionally, at the time of the crash, Savannah did not have a record of duty status for that date and the previous seven days as required.
Follow up investigations by FMCSA revealed Savannah previously tested positive for marijuana during a pre-employment controlled substances test on March 31, 2020. As a result, he was prohibited from operating a CMV in interstate and intrastate commerce and was designated as “prohibited” in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
His commercial driver’s license was also downgraded because he failed to maintain a current medical certificate as required by the FMCSA.
“Despite all these prohibitions, Savannah continued to operate a CMV in blatant disregard of federal and state regulations and the safety of the motoring public,” according to the FMCSA.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Savannah’s “blatant and egregious violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public.”
Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $1,951 per violation. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.