Clyde Nachand, 67, Stephen Punch, 52, Daniel Butler, 35, and Dayle Veronica Downs-Totonchi, 47, will never again ride a motorcycle or enjoy a group ride with their friends. The four were gruesomely slain when a Phoenix, Ariz., dump truck driver plowed into a group of 10 motorcyclists.
The worst motorcycle accident in Phoenix history, according to Arizona safety officials, the accident killed 4 and left 5 others seriously injured when a 24,000-lb. dump truck crashed into the rows of motorcyclists, pulling some of the bikes and their riders under the truck before the gas tank of the dump truck exploded.
Charged with 16 counts, including manslaughter, aggravated assault, endangerment, and causing disabling brain injuries to a Phoenix firefighter, Michael Jakscht, the 48 year-old dump truck driver, was found to have methamphetamines in his system after the accident.
Jakscht had multiple driving violations prior to the truck accident.
Crying through part of his testimony, Jakscht claimed that the accident happened because of the truck’s mechanical failure and not because he was under the influence of drugs.
He said the truck’s brakes pulled it into another lane. When he heard something crack underneath the truck, Jakscht froze, plowing into 8 motorcycles and dragging bikes and riders 50 to 75 yards before trapping three riders underneath in the fiery crash.
Claiming that the positive meth test must have been from the diet pills his roommate had bought online—which he claimed he didn’t know the ingredients of– Jakscht said that the methamphetamine-laced pills had no effect on him other than curbing his appetite.
The Phoenix, Ariz., truck accident and the deaths and injuries it caused, shocked Phoenix. The incident brought attention to the hidden world of truckers driving under the influence of drugs.