FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The driver of a semi that plowed into the rear of a line of cars at a red light, killing two people and injuring six others back in January of 2013, has officially been charged with reckless homicide. The reckless homicide charge and 15 others were filed against Scott A. Saunders, 51, of Kenoshsa, Wisconsin after an extensive investigation determined he made no attempt to stop his rig.
According to the affidavit for probable cause, Saunders was driving westbound on US 30, near South Doyle Road, on the morning of January 8, 2013. Witnesses said the light at the intersection had just turned green and the cars that had been stopped had not yet accelerated when Saunders’ semi slammed into the line of five cars.
The crash killed 65-year-old Suzanne K. Stephenson, of Monroeville, Indiana and 43-year-old Sandra Dealey, of Convoy, Ohio. Both women were wearing seatbelts and driving separate vehicles at the time of the crash.
The Allen County Coroner’s Office said both Stephenson and Dealey died from blunt force trauma.
Six other people were taken to the hospital with injuries after the crash.
When police arrived at the accident scene, one car was engulfed in flames, an SUV was flipped upside down in the middle of the intersection, and the 70,000 pound semi Saunders had been driving was in a ditch.
Saunders told police he was driving around 50 mph when he crashed into the cars. Officers on scene said there was no evidence of Saunders braking or attempting to brake and based on weather conditions at the time he would have had no problem seeing the traffic signal.
A video obtained from a nearby truck stop at Doyle Road and U.S. 30 showed that the traffic signal had been red for 52 seconds before the crash. The investigation concluded that Saunders ignored the five vehicles stopped in front of him, four of which were in his own lane and one in the other lane and that he was hadn’t maintained a reasonable speed or left enough room between his rig and the vehicle in front of him. That conclusion was also based upon the video which showed the first vehicle hit by Saunders, a PT Cruiser driven by Suzanne Stephenson, slowing down for traffic in front of her.
Saunders was officially charged on Thursday. He faces the following felony charges:
- Reckless Homicide (Two counts)
- Criminal Recklessness, Committed While Armed w/ Deadly Weapon (Six counts)
- Involuntary Manslaughter, Killing results from use of motor vehicle (Two counts)
- Criminal Recklessness, Inflicts Serious Bodily Injury on Another (Two counts)
Saunders also faces the following traffic offenses:
- Disregard Lighted Signal – Signals Exhibiting Colored Lights
- Following Too Closely
- Speeding; Speed Unreasonable Under Conditions
- Failure to Yield Right of Way at Entrance to Through Highway
As of Friday afternoon, Saunders was not listed in the Allen County Jail or the Kenosha County Jail in Wisconsin.