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Semi driver not talking about accident

Published: Thu, April 8, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.


Donald Williams




The Austintown man authorities say drove a semi truck into the back of a Marine Corps recruiter’s car March 31, killing three recruits, is out of the hospital — but not talking about the accident.

“I’m advised by my attorney not to say [anything],” Donald P. Williams, 44, of Bainbridge Avenue said by telephone Wednesday.

“I know a lot that nobody else knows. There’s other stuff involved, and I can’t go into it any further,” he said.

Joseph Dragovich, former Ohio State Highway Patrol Southington post commander, said Williams told investigators he doesn’t remember the moments just before the accident.

The semi Williams was driving hit the back of a Pontiac G6 that was stopped at the Burnett Road traffic light on state Route 5, Warren Township.

Three recruits on their way to Cleveland to complete their enlistment were killed: Zachary Nolen, 19, of Mineral Ridge and Newton Falls; Michael Theodore Jr., 19, of Howland; and Joshua Sherbourne, 21, of Southington.

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle records show Williams was convicted of drunken driving three times — in 2000, 1992 and 1987 — and was also convicted in 2000 of allowing his daughter and other juveniles to use drugs or alcohol in an Austintown motel room.

He was also convicted of the following traffic violations since 2000: stop sign, speeding, seat belt (twice), no driver’s license and a traffic-light violation.

A drunken-driving conviction occurred in August 2000 in Mahoning County Area Court in Austintown, after Williams was picked up by the highway patrol on Meridian Road near Burkey Road. His blood-alcohol level was 0.125. The legal limit is 0.08.

Two months before that, he was convicted of misdemeanor selling alcohol to an underage person and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing five juveniles at an Austintown motel to possess or consume alcohol.

Williams has had a valid commercial driver’s license since last July, which allows him to drive a commercial tractor-trailer rig. A person does not lose his commercial or regular driving privileges in Ohio unless he has accumulated at least 12 points on his license in a two-year period, said Lindsey Wayt Bohrer, BMV public information officer.

Williams has had no moving violations since a stop-sign violation in October 2006, the BMV said.

Sgt. Randy Skaggs of the highway patrol said blood tests were done on individuals involved in the fatal crash, including Williams, but the highway patrol doesn’t have results.

Nothing was found in Williams’ truck to suggest that alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident, Skaggs said.

Skaggs said the initial report on the accident is likely to be finished and made public sometime next week.

Troopers have answered some questions regarding the accident but had refused to identify Williams by birthdate or address until Wednesday.

Troopers say they don’t know how fast Williams was driving, but it appears Williams didn’t apply his brakes before the crash, Dragovich said.

On Wednesday, Sgt. Jeff Klem clarified a comment from the Trumbull County coroner’s office that indicated one of the three dead recruits was ejected during the accident.

Nolen was found on the ground by emergency workers, but a passer-by pulled him from the wreckage and performed CPR on him, Klem said.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like Donald Williams is a real LOSER. I hope they send him to jail for the murder of these 3 marine recruits. Let the facts speak for themselves. Doesn't he have that Charlie Manson look in the picture?

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2CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Does anyone know what trucking company Williams was working for? You'd think that the company would have looked at his record a bit more closely.

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3tatum32(6 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

This guy has no business driving a big wheel.he used to drive for strimbu,i think they haul steel..

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4binx(81 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

WHOA WHOA WHOA... you have to accumulate 12 points within two years and then you get your license taken away? Seriously, I think the driving rules need to be revisited. This guy KILLED people because #1: I don't remember what hapened #2: there's other things involved (???). The company I work for does not allow ANY points on your license at all after conducting a driving check. I send my thoughts out to the families of those brave young men that were embarking on a journey to protect our country... and we paid them back by giving a goofball a licence and a large vehicle even though he showed he was irresponsible, and there's a lot out there on the road!!!

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5havinmysay(155 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

This man looks crazed, and that's being nice.

They say the brakes were never applied before the accident. Last week they said that there were no mechanical failures, so I'm wondering what information he has to justify his running into the back of a stopped car?

I've dispatched trucks for a few different companies and my Dad drove trucks for a number of years.

People would be shocked to know who is actually sitting behind the wheel of the big trucks they encounter every day. They'd also be shocked about the condition of some of the trucks.

Lest I be accused of bashing truck drivers, let me say that I know there are many clean, safe, qualified, decent drivers out there.

However there is a seedy side to the trucking industry, unfortunately.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Anyone involved with alcohol abuse should not be behind the wheel of any vehicle on the highway . Frequent alcohol consumption destroys ones ability to reason and to react normally . Alcohol sales at truck stops should be illegal and bars in close proximity. The truck stops at 46 & I-80 have had many problems with intoxicated drivers .

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7Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Plain and simple,.. he needs to fry.

The loss he inflicted is indefensible and can't be replaced. It was his own deliberate irresponsibility that murdered those young men and there's no two ways about it.

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8binx(81 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Again, I am going to comment:

I send my thoughts out to the families of those brave young men that were embarking on a journey to protect our country...

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9smallkat(3 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I think it is a bit ridiculous that he had a CDL, he should not have had a license for any vehicle. I hope he is given the maximum sentence for the most severe charges they can come up with [justified of course, we have to be fair]. The three young men who were killed, the recruit who survived and the recruiter were simply trying to serve their country. They should not have had to suffer through this because a lack in a trucking companies hiring policy, our legal system, and the OBMV. There obviously needs to be some sort of update/revisions to our legal system and the OBMV.

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10Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Do you think he was talking on a cell phone at the time. They are JUST as deadly as DRUNK DRIVERS.

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11Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I am shocked that they would even hire this guy. And why was my first post deleted vindy.com?

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12valleypoboy(224 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Anybody notice how most of these fatal accidents start with "a truck" and then go on to detail what it hit. How many people have to die before we accept the simple fact of physics that 40 ton vehicles do not mix well with 1 ton (and less) cars?

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13dana50golf(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

After 3 DWI's no one should be allowed to drive for at least 10 years of proven sobriety and then only under constant supervision such as a probation period of 5 years. This man should never have been allowed to operate a commercial vehicle at all, under no circumstance.

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14Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


After reviewing this guy's record there does need to be another DOT investigation. Into who, what policy and just how he received license re-issue let alone possess one of the magnitude of a CDL accreditation.

In that light his employer and whom licensed him to be released on society not only with a license to drive.

But to no less drive in a multi ton truck needs to be associated in a mass culpability suit.

This is beyond belief how this tragedy was facilitated and the deeper you look into it the more horrid it evolves.

Those young men, their families, friends and everyone else in society deserves more protection. From how this historic multi offender was able to legally but indefensibly strike again.

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15Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

"I know a lot that nobody else knows." Oh do tell you POS!

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16Nor22(1 comment)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


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17Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

a company,

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18Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


There's no need to try to infuse political division in regards to such a horrific incident.

I don't see a Teabagger or anything else when I review what happened here. Nor does politics have anything to do with who is at the center as the cause of it.

I see lawlessness, tragedy, misfortune and a host of surrounding questions. That absolutely need to be answered for the fallen's grieving family, friends and safety for the general society here.

I'm sensing gross impropriety and or even criminal conduct in how the individual even re-obtained a license.

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19Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Lets not forget, there were also survivors of the accident. Several lives changed forever that day.

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20Nunya(1356 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


That's true and you're right,..

You've brought to our attention that I and others here have been non consciously overlooking that and for those survivors and family members.

I personally apologize for not mentioning the infringement that this horrid ordeal that the individual being discussed indefensibly forced upon you.

The first ones that come to mind are the fallen but fact is victims are victims. For witch to succumb or survive injury they all were forced into that recognition and fate.

By an ordeal that wasn't their doing and for all intents and purposes if law was enforced and upheld should have never even happened.

The historically irresponsible driver of that devastation and annihilation delivering truck. Shouldn't have been authorized to operate more than a manually propelled bicycle.

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21benny(2 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Whoa!!! slow down here. If the guy was drunk he would have been arrested at the scene. Everyone here wants to hang this guy because he looks freaky. Well I would look freaky too if a was just in a bad accident. Let the State Patrol do their investigation and determine what the facts are before you rush to judgement. Gawd you folks are a horrible jury! He got a record for DWI so the dude must always be drunk.....get over yourselves all you Carrie Nation hatchet wielders. Let's hear the whole story before we pass judgement!
Regards, Benny

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22benny(2 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Rock on Penguin

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23lowellk(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I am the father of the Marine Sgt who was driving the car. I saw the pain and sorrow he experienced when he was told of the deaths of the three recruits. That sorrow won't leave anytime soon. His physical wounds are healing, but the deeper emotional wounds will be with him for a long, long time. Benny, Williams wasn't arrested because he was transported to the hospital. Only time will tell if he was driving drunk or what his "excuse" was. These types always have "excuses" for actions which hurt others. Defend him all you want. That's why my son serves in the Marines and why these four young men wanted to be Marines...to defend your right of free speech and to defend a worthless member of society like Donald Williams. My heart goes out the the parents of the young men that Williams took away from us and my thanks go to them for the acts of kindness they have shown my son. For Williams, justice will come, both now and in the hereafter.

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24binx(81 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


Thank you. I hope that I am speaking for all who have posted or read this story and threads that our thoughts go out to your family and your son.
Thank you to your son for representing our country.

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25lowellk(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Thanks binx. I will pass it on to him.

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26Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I doubt the emotional scars of those directly involved and their loved ones will never heal, fade maybe, but they will always be there.

And why was Williams taken to the hospital?

lowellk, my heart goes out to your son. Many thanks to him for his dedication to our country.

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27CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

lowellk: Tragedies such as this really shake our faith, at least mine, anyway. Just know that we keep you and your son, and all of the families forever touched by this terrible tragedy in our thoughts and prayers. And I certainly ditto daughter1 and binx: Please thank your son for his service to our country. Bless all of you.

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28slick1978(1 comment)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

First and most important, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved in this terrible tragedy!
I must say that reading some of these comments make me realize how messed up our society and country really is. I do agree that with his history there is no way he should have recieved a CDL, and if there is proof that he is 100% at fualt of the accident I hope he gets the maximum sentence!
I just hope people don't judge all truck drivers because of this accident! For example Mr or Ms valleypoboy did you know that 80% of accidents that involve semi trucks are NOT caused by the "truck driver"!!!!
I'm not saying there aren't some bad truck drivers out there but there are a lot off good ones out there that get a bad reputation because of the media and the bad decisions of the few bad drivers!
Its a shame that you never here the good that a lot of truck drivers do, you only here about the accidents!

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29Daughter1(14 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


I personally think there are many good truck drivers, but there are definately those that should never be. but that also applies to everyday life, there any many people holding jobs that they have no business being in.

I blame the trucking company just as much as I blame the driver.

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30smallkat(3 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago


If a person is injured they are sent to the hospital -- drunk or not. At that point their treatment is more important than anything else... justice can not be served if the accused party is dead. Depending on how long it took at the hospital they may not have been able to tell if he was intoxicated at the time or not. They then have to wait on blood tests.

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31valleypoboy(224 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Just regarding the safety of large trucks, I would note that I have driven large, heavy vehicles and I am certain they do not mix well with the average size car no matter who is at the wheel. If that driver is a poor driver, distracted, or just plain stupid, then a bad situation gets much worse and the results make the news. And get off the cell phone kick. They are just another distraction. Changing the radio, eating, etc. all are distractions. I'm much more worried about a hot cup of coffee landing in my lap (a big distraction) than a phone conversation where I can say "hold on" and toss the phone if necessary.

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32saddad(654 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Eating or drinking while driving do not divide ones concentration as a cell phone does. Its not driving with one hand thats so dangerous--its driving with half a mind. We dont know what happened here but we all know that such things do result from phoning and texting and if that is found to be the factor in this tragedy will those that promote texting and driving feel complicit? It took peer pressure to reduce the amount of drunk driving in this country and peer pressure is what is needed to get people to put down the cells.

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33thomasinwarrenoh(1 comment)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Sounds to me like all you guys have no idea what you are talking about! Does anyone on here know what the word ACCIDENT means? I feel sorry for everyone affected by this I really do but those recruits did not deserve full honors as well there is a reason they call them recruits they never served our country! before anyone ask yes I am vet i spent years in the Army they never put a uniform on

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34saddad(654 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Good logical analysis thomas. You will never make it in politics slicing with that sharp a knife though. Nobody cares that the young men, fully intending to serve their country, got deprived of their chance to take the oath. They did all they needed to do to be heros in the eyes of most people. And while "accidents" happen, we have a concept of fault that gets applied when one operates their vehicle into the car in front of them.

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35mcclionmlc(1 comment)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I do not believe Williams intentionally looked at the traffic in front of him and decided that he was not going to stop and hit the car.Whether drunk or on drugs I do not believe he intentionally wanted to do this. That would be considered an accident correct Thomas? Accident or mistake what ever you want to call it, still has consequences that Williams must accept.There is nothing that says he has to talk to police. But this ACCIDENT took the lives of three Marines and there should be some respect there.He should acknowledge the fact that his actions were the cause of death and do everything in his power to help with the investigation and accept the consequences of his actions.That is why it is a story.He has not done that.He does not remeber what he did to cause the accident.He was told not to talk about it. This tells me he is more concerned with himself not the remorse he should feel or somehow finding a way to show the familys how sorry he is.This is what would be called honor Thomas.Not the fact that they did not put on a uniform. You do not need a uniform or a patch on the uniform to have honor. All I know about two of the men is what I have read. One of them I knew very well and know that he did serve his country. He served it by serving his community first and serving his parents with respect and serving people with respect and helping them in every way he could. This is honor. The Marines gave this back to him by showing him and his family the true definition of what this country needs more of. Being a veteran I would of thought you would have known what true honor is and that you would have realized that they deserved to be remembered with FULL HONORS. I thank all three of you for being such good kids and I pray that my own will turn out as good and as honorable as you three were.

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36LtMacGowan(713 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

A Friend of mine knows this guy. Says he s a major drug addict and boozer. He's even bragged about all the times he was driving impaired and never got caught.

Its a shame I abhor the death penalty because if his drug and alcohol tests come back positive I'd say he should be a candidate for it.

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37picturethis(18 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I think about the families of these three young men every day - I can still pick up the phone and call my son, USAF (21) unlike these mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, FIANCE's, etc. who now have to go visit a grave to talk to the boys' broken, shattered young bodies. I believe in my heart any normal person would have rather DIED than cause an accident of this sort. This man was worried about himself, knew his answer that he was giving to the cops before they even arrived on scene. Oh, and as for FULL MILITARY HONORS:
YES! My husband gives the services for such men, usually ones that have reached a nice ole' ripe age after their service retirement. YES! They deserved these honors and then some. They were ROBBED of their chance to serve their country. They died PAINFUL deaths, ones which NO One got to say goodbye. So yes, these boys are worthy of honors, to the driver and passenger, make the best of your lives. To the Truck Driver - you have to sleep with yourself. Your day will come. I will not worry, it is near. May this be a lesson to everyone reading: Don't drink & drive, text, drive while sleepy or whatever this man was doing at the time he rammed his honkin huge killing machine into the Marines' car. To all survivors, we want your stories, also. You also matter.
~Love to all.

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38mg1301(2 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Trucking company is Nick Strimbu

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39cjdre2007(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

This guy shouldn't even have A CDL, I thought that if you had any DUI's you couldn't get one? Etheir he was drunk or on drug, a true piece of trash if you ask me. For the record BENNY if the guy said he had any injurys they had to take him to the hospital and the wouldn't have arrested him until they get the blood results back. The fact is this guy didn't stop when he was suppose to so etheir way he is 100% at fault no questions asked, nobody cares what he looks like, he murdered 3 people, I hope that they convict him of the 3 counts of murder. To PENGUINBIRD usally when people don't talk to police they are guilty, come on think about it, if I had something to hide I wouldn't talk to police I would talk to my lawyer first. But I wouldn't be stupid like this guy, he shouldn't have ever had His CDL. To all survivors we will all be praying for you in your time of need, and he hope that justice is served.

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40cjdre2007(5 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

We hope that justice is served

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