Wednesday, July 29, 2015
May, 2015 A case of mistaken identity and murder charges in the wake of one defendant cooperating with federal investigators. Sounds like something from an FBI organized crime case – but this involved an out of service order by the DOT.
The case goes back to 2008, after a fatal crash in Alabama that resulted in the deaths of seven state prison guards. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed Devasko Dewayne Lewis of Cordele, doing business as Lewis Trucking Company/DDL Transport/DL Transport, under an Imminent Hazard Order to cease all operations due to serious violations discovered during a compliance review following the crash.
In 2011, Lewis and his company DDL Transport, LLC, were indicted by a federal grand jury after he lied on his application for motor carrier authority, trying to start a new "chameleon company" in what amounted to violation of that out-of-service order. He eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to several months in prison, 12 months supervised release, and a $3,000 fine.
However, around the time he pleaded guilty and before his sentencing, Lewis obtained new DOT numbers for more chameleon carriers, Eagle Transport and Eagle Trans, using the identity of friends, including Corey Daniels, who in 2014 was sentenced to 12 months of probation for his part in the scheme. After reporting to Federal prison in November 2012, Lewis continued operating Eagle Trans with the assistance of Daniels and others.
Apparently Daniels' conviction didn't stop Lewis. In January of this year, his half brother, Lacey Lewis, pleaded guilty for his part in contining to run the chameleon carriers. On May 13, 2015, Lacey Lewis was sentenced to 24 months probation.
Two days later, the federal case against Devasko Lewis was dismissed -- because on April 17, he had been sentenced to life without parole for murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery.
Lewis, according to prosecutors, conspired to murder co-defendant Corey Daniels, who had agreed to cooperate in the federal case against Lewis. Shortly after he agreed to cooperate, an attempt was made on his life. Although Daniels was the actual target, in a case of mistaken identity, his nephew, Kerry Glenn, was killed at Daniels’ residence.
Prior to the murder, Lewis had "expressed his displeasure" with Daniels’ cooperation against him in the federal case, according to the FMCSA. Published reports indicate Lewis hired a hit man to take Daniels out. That hit man, Jamarcus Clark, had also shot through the front door Daniels' mother's house five days earlier, leading to another conspiracy to commit murder charge for himself and Lewis.
According to a report in the Macon Telegraph, Judge George F. Nunn described the killing as "a cold-blooded, calculated murder."
"He was facing 12 months in prison and he hires a man to literally take out and kill the man who’s going to testify against him. ... That is hard for me to comprehend,” Nunn said.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
My brother and me were already pretty skilled in driving at that time with my mom taking us to a shopping center parking lot quite frequently late at night to let us practice driving, even sliding around on snow and ice to get the feel of how a car handles. At that time teens were not required to take a driver training course, I just learned by driving while one of our parents were in the car. And occasionally sneaking my mom’s car out by myself when they weren’t home!
|Our '57 New Yorker|
As soon as I could get a learner’s permit I got one and had to wait a bit before they would give me the road test. My dad was not a patient man and it was he that took me down for my test in the family car, a huge 1957 Chrysler New Yorker after my birthday. I was nervous, but confident in my ability to pass the test, that is until the instructor took me down a city street through a school zone! School was on and I neglected to see the sign, as the instructor asked me how fast I was going. I looked and said “about 30” and he informed me that the limit was 15 mph. We went back to the station where he informed me and my father that I had flunked for speeding. On the way home, my dad told me that if I flunked again, I would be waiting until I was 18 to drive.
Well, I was careful on the next test and it was one of the happiest days of my life when I was issued my driver’s license. But sometimes getting it, and then keeping it, can be somewhat difficult.
I managed to get through the first few months through the winter with no incidents. During the spring of the following year, it was a nice warm day and I decided to take my motorcycle for a ride down Lake Shore Drive. I was driving along a city street through Shorewood and as I came around a curve passed a parked patrol car with radar. The speed limit was artificially set low at 30 mph for a wide boulevard street and I was going probably about 40 or better, not paying attention. The red lights and siren came on, he pulled me over and I gave him my license. He not only wrote me a traffic citation, but he informed me that he was going to call my parents and tell them because of my age! So that was my first strike.
I had a probationary license, much stricter on violations than a regular license, I think they charged double the points for every citation. If I would have gotten another ticket within a period of time, they would have suspended my license.
Well, just a few short months later, that almost happened. I was driving along in the late afternoon and came to an intersection with a 4-way stop sign. I don’t recall the exact details but I arrived at the stop sign about the same time as a vehicle came up going across. I thought I had the right of way, was probably being too aggressive and cut the other vehicle off as I went through. That other vehicle just happened to be an unmarked patrol car with two Milwaukee police officers in it! The driver made a hard right, turned on his lights and pulled me over. I remember he was very angry, chewing me out as he asked for my license and told me he was going to write a ticket for failure to yield. Just as he had my license in hand and was about to walk back to his car, his partner opened the passenger side door, jumped out and hollered “we got a call!” The angry cop handed me my license back and said something about it being my lucky day, as he ran back to the car and they peeled out with lights and siren going.
After realizing how close I came to losing my license that day, I was pretty careful for a long time afterwards. Having to face my dad after a suspension would not have been good! I loved driving and the freedom it gave me and it would have been torture to have lost that privilege, I was probably still about a year away from my 18th birthday. Lesson learned, thankfully.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Something to think about. Good article thanks to Deborah Lockridge and truckinginfo.com. Links provided:
A trucker rear-ends a car at 50 mph in broad daylight on a nearly deserted Interstate highway, killing a 10-year-old child and injuring others in the car. Slam-dunk win for the plaintiff, right?
Not so fast.
A while back, we published an interview with Dallas-based attorney Bill Chamblee. Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson is a legal firm defending trucking companies against lawsuit stemming from traffic accidents.
My interview with him was extensive and had to be edited for length. But I recently stumbled across those notes and wanted to share one of his court stories with you.
In this case, a truck rear-ended a passenger vehicle on I-35 in broad daylight. A 10-year-old died, others in the car were injured and the family sued for millions of dollars.
"All the information and data showed our truck was traveling approximately 50 mph when it rear-ended the vehicle of the plaintiffs," Chamblee explains. There were no other vehicles on the roadway to speak of. There was no emergency evasive maneuver that had to be taken because someone changed lanes.
Chamblee said he talked to the driver repeatedly, at the time of the wreck and before the trial, and the driver consistently said he checked his mirrors in preparation to change lanes because there were mowers up ahead. There was no vehicle in front of him until he turned his vision back to the road after that short mirror check. Suddenly there was a car, apparently stopped or moving very slowly.
"Everybody believed it wasn't defensible," Chamblee recalled. The assumption is if you don't see a vehicle in front of you, obviously you weren't paying attention or you were fatigued and fell asleep.
"I told everyone at the start, if our driver is telling the truth, there's another explanation for this accident, and that's what we need to find," Chamblee says.
The car, he deduced, was probably off the side of the road for some reason and pulled out in front of the truck. But that didn't match up with what the plaintiffs were saying.
So he started digging. He learned that the plaintiffs had traveled to San Antonio to pick up the husband and were on their way back. "They had this kind of broken bizarre relationship, and the plaintiffs were not forthcoming in their depositions about their trip, the purpose of the trip, why they were traveling," Chamblee says. "They weren't credible, they weren't forthcoming and honest about their relationships and reason for being in San Antonio.
"So when I talked to the jury I said, 'You're going to hear from the plaintiffs that they were on the roadway and traveling with the flow of traffic, but we know from crash data and accident reconstructions that they were at a stop or slowly moving. You'll hear from our driver, who's an honest and credible man without a mark on his record, that he looked up from checking his mirrors and saw a vehicle in the road.
"You're going to have to decide which version is the truth, and I think you're going to decide it's my driver because the plaintiffs have too many credibility problems, because they didn't tell the truth about what happened before or about the speed of the vehicle."
Chamblee won the case.