UPDATE: Driver in deadly Clinton log truck accident charged
CLINTON (KATV) - The man behind the wheel of a log truck that overturned in Clinton back in June, causing the truck to lose its load, killing two and injuring 16 others, was arraigned on 18 different charges ranging from negligent homicide to battery in the second degree. Prosecution said the driver, Jerry Lyn Hickman, 39 of Bee Branch, was allegedly high on methamphetamines at the time of the crash.
Hickman appeared in court in Van Buren County on Wednesday to face charges in the accident, according to prosecutors, they believe he caused.
"We have two counts of negligent homicide - that's a class B felony. We have ten counts of battery in the first degree - which again is a class B felony, and then six counts of battery in the second degree," said Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit.
Hiland said the 18 charges reflect each victim in the accident. The lesser battery charges involve victims with lesser injuries; the first degree battery charges for victims with broken bones and other more severe injuries. If all charges stick, Hickman could face more than 100 years in prison.
The prosecuting affidavit shows that Hickman was escorted to the hospital for a blood draw following the accident on June 2. The test, later analyzed by the Arkansas Crime Lab, would end up testing positive for Methamphetamines. The officer on scene, according to the affidavit, cited that "Mr. Hickman's behavior resemble(d) a person that (was) intoxicated."
Hickman was already on probation at the time for underlying drug charges, according to Hiland.
"So when we found out that he said he had done drugs recently, that was the basis for our petition to revoke his probation," said Hiland.
Hiland commented that the charges filed on Wednesday won't be able to help the victims' families cope with their losses or for some their permanent injuries, but Hiland mentioned, "justice is really all we have to give."
Hickman is being held at the Van Buren County Jail on a $250,000 bond. If he is able to make bond, he'll have to submit to random drug screens, he won't be allowed to operate a motor vehicle and he won't be able to leave the state.