COLUMBIA — A truck driver who failed to slow for backed-up traffic and collided with a car, killing four women on I-70 in eastern Callaway County in 2006 was acquitted by a Boone County jury Wednesday night on four counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter.
The two-day trial of George Albright, of Clarksville, Tenn., ended when the jury returned with its verdict at roughly 8:45 p.m., Callway County Prosecutor Robert Sterner said.
The case stemmed from an accident on June 1, 2006, when Albright did not slow his tractor trailer down even though traffic was backed up for nearly two miles after an earlier accident on I-70. Albright’s truck collided with a car driven by Beverly Garret of Kansas City, and then swerved into six other cars after it crossed the median into the westbound lanes of the highway.
Garrett and her three passengers from Kansas City, Anita Gibbs, Beulah Hunter and Eloise Jeans, were all killed. Four other people were injured in the accident.
Police reports at the time of the accident said that Albright failed to brake or try to stop his vehicle as the Missouri Highway Patrol was trying to clear an earlier accident from the interstate.
The jury in Wednesday’s trial was about four-and-a-half hours into deliberation when they sent a note to the judge saying they were deadlocked, but the judge told them to continue with deliberation, Sterner said.
Less than two hours later, it brought back the verdict of not guilty.
Jury was selected Tuesday morning, with evidence given that same afternoon and Wednesday morning, Sterner said.
Albright’s defense attorneys said he was not criminally negligent because he had Type 2 diabetes and suffered from hypoglycemic unawareness at the time of the accident, Sterner said.
Sterner said the jury made its decision based on all the evidence. “It’s truly a case where both sides got in all the evidence that they wanted to get in,” he said.