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Trucker faces more charges in recruits’ deaths

Published: Sat, November 13, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



Donald P. Williams Jr. of Austintown, accused of driving his tractor-trailer cab into a stopped car containing four Marine Corps recruits, killing three of them, has been indicted on additional charges that carry a penalty of up to 60 years in prison.

The charges this time include a misdemeanor drug-possession charge and a specification that Williams previously was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs three times.

Williams, 45, of Bainbridge Avenue, who was indicted in August on three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and three counts of aggravated vehicular assault, is now indicted on 13 counts. His original charges carried a penalty of up to 191/2 years in prison.

The superseding indictment handed up Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court says Williams was “drug drunk” on Valium and a similar drug, Nordiazepam, while listening to heavy-metal music and speeding.

“As a result of his speeding, drug abuse and disregard for a working traffic signal in broad daylight,” Williams’ truck hit the back of the recruits’ car and continued forward 581 more feet, eventually involving six other vehicles, the indictment said.

Despite the impact of Williams’ car hitting the recruits’ Pontiac G6, Williams continued driving his truck “without visible reaction and did not apply his brakes,” the indictment said.

Investigators have said that the truck, owned by Strimbu Trucking of Brookfield, was equipped with video equipment that indicated that Williams failed to apply his brakes before the crash.

The crash took place at 3:45 p.m. March 31 on state Route 5 just west of Warren. The recruits’ car was stopped at a red light at Burnett Street when it was struck. They were on their way to Cleveland to complete their enlistment in the Marines.

Killed were Zachary A. Nolen, 19, of Mineral Ridge and Newton Falls; Joshua A. Sherbourne, 21, of Southington; and Michael T. Theodore Jr., 19, of Howland.

Williams also is charged with three counts of aggravated vehicular assault because of serious injuries to two other people in the Marines’ car — driver and Marine recruiter Charles W. Keene and recruit Carl W. McDermitt III of Masury — and serious injuries to motorcyclist Donald L. Beach of Youngstown.

Williams returns to court at 1:30 p.m. next Friday to be arraigned on the new charges. Bond previously was set at $50,000.

Prosecutors have said Williams was sent to prison in 1989 on a felony drug offense; was convicted of selling alcohol to minors and contributing to the delinquency of minors in 2000; was arrested for falsification in 2001; was convicted of drunken driving in 1987, 1993 and 2000; and had a series of moving violations in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2006.

Williams lied on his application to get hired by Strimbu Trucking by claiming he had no criminal record, prior arrests or history of DUI, prosecutors said.


1palefoot(35 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

A trucking company that doesn't check the driving record of those they hire?
And why did this man still have a license?

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2fcb(460 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

This guy should not be out on bond so he can do it again.Three young brave men gone because this idiot was doing drugs while driving a truck.I would hate to be the judge that let him out on bond if it happens again before he goes to trial.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"The superseding indictment handed up Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court says Williams was “drug drunk” on Valium and a similar drug, Nordiazepam, while listening to heavy-metal music and speeding."

The drug culture of today is in all facets of life . For those who do drugs society is running out of tolerance ! Donald P. Williams Jr. should now be able to be cool in the slammer for a number of years .


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4dana50golf(5 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I question the trucking company that hired him. Did they actually do a background check? There is a report that they had an independent company do the background check. How did he obtain a license that showed a clean record? Add it all up and it just doesn't make sense that any background check was ever done. Strimbu Trucking, I hope you have some good lawyers, you are going to need them........

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5southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

This man should have taken off the streets years ago. Hopefully the judge will dispense prison time and permanently revoke his drivers license.

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6Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The trucking company is at fault for their failure to do a back ground check. But i will bet they dont wont to do a background check. Because they can hire drivers with problems for cheaper then other companies that have a system of back ground and drug checks. We need to implement random drug check at weigh stations.

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7starofesther(168 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Sad about those young men! It's a shame when something this tragic happens could of and should of been prevented by this offender....He shouldn't be allowed to have bond...Sad people continue to drive and speed and take drugs that usually takes lives...

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8angel1971(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes sad about those young men! The problem here though is that all of the blame is being placed on Mr. Williams or the trucking company. I do not believe in driving under the influence, my problem is I believe there are facts about other drivers (not the marines) that are being covered up about what substances where in their system. Someone should check on their toxicology reports and report on that. Again why is no one reporting that Mr. Williams served his country? Can you tell me that no one out there has ever had a moving violation like a speeding ticket. Easier to blame the semi isn't it? I love my brother.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


Who is blaming the semi ? Your brother is a drug using junkie and he chose to drive compromised .

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