A Georgia district attorney requested on July 6 that five vehicular homicide charges and two lesser counts against Total Transportation of Mississippi resulting from an April 2015 crash be dismissed.
Five Georgia Southern University nursing students were killed and two others were seriously injured when their cars were struck by a Total Transportation of Mississippi truck driven by John Wayne Johnson on Interstate 16/Georgia state Route 404.
Bryan County DA Tom Durden said in a statement Johnson is scheduled to be in court July 14 to face five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide and single counts of serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, failure to exercise due care and following too closely. In addition to the vehicular homicide counts, the company is charged with criminal responsibility of corporations and serious injury by vehicle.
“Total Transportation of Mississippi is pleased that the Bryan County District Attorney’s office has agreed to terminate the prosecution of the criminal indictment against the company,” President John Stomps said in a statement. “From the outset, we have vigorously denied that the company engaged in any criminal conduct.
"However, after discussions with DA Durden, we found that we were mutually interested in a resolution which would allow us to honor the women and families affected by this accident and to create something positive out of this tragedy.”
Durden said that Total Transportation of Mississippi has agreed to establish an educational foundation in the students’ names with an initial capitalization of $200,000. Brightstar Educational Foundation Inc. will provide financial assistance to students applying to Georgia nursing schools as well as educational programs and content to K-12 schools and the public in the state pertaining to driver education and safety.
Total Transportation of Mississippi settled wrongful death lawsuits with the victims’ families in April. It also has settled a wrongful injury lawsuit with one student and is on the verge of doing so with the other, according to Stomps.