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Driver barred from driving truck in interstate commerce after Vermont crash

FMCSA allege trucker was under the influence when he crashed his rig and fled the scene

FMCSA declared a Massachusetts truck driver an imminent hazard and ordered him off the road. Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared a Massachusetts man an imminent hazard and ordered him not to use a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce until he successfully completes a substance abuse program.

William Edward Dearth Jr. was placed out of service after investigators say he was driving under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his rig into a telephone pole and fled the scene of the crash on foot on Aug. 25 in Lamoille County, Vermont. The Vermont State Police K-9 unit later took him into custody. 

A preliminary Breathalyzer test conducted by the Vermont State Police showed Dearth’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.217, according to the FMCSA statement. Approximately one hour later, two additional Breathalyzer tests, taken five minutes apart, found a BAC of 0.20 and 0.197, respectively.

A BAC of greater than 0.04 while operating a commercial vehicle weighing over 26,001 pounds and requiring a commercial driver’s license is a violation of federal safety regulations, the FMCSA said.

During a subsequent inspection of Dearth’s truck, officers discovered an open can of beer in the driver’s cup holder, multiple empty beer cans in the trash and an almost new case of beer elsewhere in the cab, the FMCSA said in the statement.  

Vermont State Police charged Dearth with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and negligent operation.

Dearth was served on Friday with the federal order not to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

Dearth’s “disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public if not discontinued immediately,” the federal imminent hazard order stated. 

He may be assessed civil penalties of up to $1,951 for any subsequent violation of the out-of-service order. Violations of the order may also result in criminal penalties. FMCSA said he may also be subject to civil penalty enforcement proceedings for violations of the agency’s safety regulations.

Dearth must successfully complete the statutorily required return-to-duty process overseen by a substance abuse professional before he can operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce again.

Click here for more articles by Clarissa Hawes.

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]