Semi-truck driver charged in fatal I-5 crash in Tacoma
Semi-truck driver charged in fatal I-5 crash in Tacoma

Source: Google News

Gregory Jenkins allegedly caused a series of collisions after he rammed into a car, killing one driver and causing freeway gridlock.

TACOMA, Wash — A driver of a semi-truck that allegedly caused a fatal accident and shut down Interstate 5 for hours Friday pleaded not guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and four counts of vehicular assault on Monday.

Gregory Jenkins, according to a Pierce County prosecuting attorney, was behind the wheel of a red semi-truck that didn’t slow down ahead of traffic and smashed into a vehicle, causing a chain reaction of collisions that left six other cars damaged and seven people injured, including one man who was declared dead at the scene. The semi-truck driver was not among those treated for injuries at the scene.

According to court documents, Dung T. Nguyen was the driver killed in the collision. One person was in serious condition, two were in critical condition, and one was sent to the hospital as a precaution on Friday, according to the Tacoma Fire Department.

I-5 northbound was closed in Tacoma near South 38th Street shortly after the crash was reported early Friday morning and wasn’t reopened until 3:30 p.m.

Washington State Patrol had Jenkins perform voluntary field sobriety tests at the scene, and the administering trooper said, “[t]hroughout the test (Defendant) was unable to follow instructions and had to be reminded constantly to complete the testas (sic) instructed,” per court documents.

Jenkins denied being under the influence when questioned at the scene, but did state he took medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Detective Brooke Bova told the Pierce County deputy prosecuting attorney that during a search incident to arrest, troopers found a “holster-like device strapped to the defendants’ ankle which contained syringes and small bottles of liquid.” Court documents say the bottles were submitted to a lab for testing.

Jenkins’ bail was set at $500,000, and the defense reserved on its bail argument on Monday.