National News

Truck driver sentenced for crash that killed 7-year-old girl

Posted August 1

— A Pocatello man will serve one year probation and perform 96 hours of community service after being sentenced for a crash that killed a young girl.

Terry Laeger, 61, was originally charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter but, as part of a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor motor carrier safety violation.

The accident occurred Nov. 24, 2015 when Laegar lost control of his semi truck after a tire blew. He crossed the median into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on into a 2007 Chevrolet pickup carrying Madelyn Holbrook, 7, three other children and their mother, Elena Holbrook.

Madelyn died at the scene and Elena suffered a severe ankle injury. The other children were not hurt.

Laeger was charged after investigators found he operated the commercial truck with minimal tire tread. According to reports, the front left tire had minimal tread and some areas were below 2/32 of an inch. State law requires tread depth above 4/32 of an inch.

The balding tire was rated not to exceed 50 mph but Laeger told investigators he was traveling around 75 mph when the crash occurred.

Madelyn's father, Ashton Holbrook, tells EastIdahoNews.com that his family has accepted the sentencing and they are pleased Judge Ryan Boyer included community service as it was not originally part of the plea agreement.

"We have never felt that there was any malicious or criminal intent on Terry's part. He is just trying to make a living like the rest of us," Holbrook says. "That does not excuse him, or any other commercial driver for that matter, from having a greater degree of responsibility placed on them and being held to higher standard. To us that is what this has been about."

Laeger will be allowed to keep his commercial driver's license and Holbrook hopes the tragic accident serves a lesson to all truck drivers.

"We hope that this is not only a wake up call to Terry about how he operates his truck, but also to other commercial drivers out there," Holbrook says.

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