Truck driver may face manslaughter charges

SARONVILLE — A truck driver who failed to stop at a U.S. Highway 6 intersection resulting in the death of a Hastings couple Thursday morning will likely be charged with two counts of manslaughter, a county attorney said.

Gary Isom, 53, and Susan Isom, 52, died when the sport-utility vehicle they were riding in collided with a semitrailer truck driven by Kenneth Johnson, 53, of Eagle at the junction of Highway 6 and Nebraska Highway 14.

Two of the Isoms' children Tiffany Isom, 26, and a 16-year-old son were flown to Bryan Medical Center West in Lincoln for treatment of trauma injuries. A medical center spokeswoman said this morning that Tiffany is in critical condition at the Bryan Trauma Center at the Bryan West Campus. The boy’s condition was not immediately available.

Clay County County Attorney Ted Griess said this morning he planned to file two counts of manslaughter against the driver of the truck. Manslaughter is a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Johnson is currently in custody in the Clay County Jail with a $100,000, 10 percent bond.

According to Clay County Sheriff Jeff Franklin, Johnson was hauling a load of sand through the area.

Authorities were notified of the crash about 5:15 a.m. The four family members were eastbound on Highway 6, apparently headed to Texas to visit another one of Gary and Susan’s daughters, Franklin said.

As they approached the intersection, Franklin said the southbound semitrailer truck ran through the stop sign on Highway 6, entering the intersection.

Gary Isom attempted to avoid colliding the truck but was unable to do so. The SUV hit the semi tractor’s passenger door, Franklin said. Susan Isom was in the backseat, driver’s-side passenger, he said.

Franklin said restraints were used and airbags were deployed in the SUV.

Road conditions Thursday morning may have contributed to the collision, he said.


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