A Novinger truck driver who caused a double-fatal accident on Interstate 70 last year was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday.
Carl J. West, 62, pleaded guilty on April 24 to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. On Monday, Judge Gene Hamilton gave West three years for both charges, to be served concurrently.
West was behind the wheel of a tractor without a trailer on April 28, 2006, when he rear-ended a car and a minivan in stopped traffic on I-70 westbound near the Lake of the Woods exit. The car ended up in a nearby ditch, and the minivan was forced underneath the trailer of another truck.
The driver of the car, Cheryl Card of Lincoln, Neb., and the driver of the minivan, John Ferkel of St. Peters, died at the scene. Card’s husband, Kirtland Card, a passenger in the car, survived life-threatening injuries.
Maura Browning, a Missouri Department of Revenue public information officer, said if the Boone County Circuit Court reports West’s conviction as two separate counts of involuntary manslaughter, then West would never again be issued a commercial motor vehicle license. Generally, a single count of involuntary manslaughter carries the penalty of a one-year disqualification of a commercial motor vehicle license with the possibility of getting it back the next year, Browning said.
Since 1976, West has had a total of four traffic convictions as well as 30 traffic arrests, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. April Wilson, Boone County prosecuting attorney, said the sentencing advisory report only showed West’s four traffic convictions.
All of the 34 driving violations occurred before the April 2006 crash, when he was an employee of B&C Trucking in La Plata.
The family of John Ferkel attended the hearing. Two of Ferkel’s brothers, Paul and Philip, made separate statements to the court before the sentencing but made no recommendations to the court for how West should be sentenced.
Two civil suits were filed against West in connection with the crash: one by Kirtland Card’s family and another by John Ferkel’s family.