More than a week has passed since Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage was killed in the line of duty, and no formal charges have been filed against the tractor-trailer driver who struck Deatherage, 32, as he was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, according to Montgomery County State's Attorney Chris Matoush.
Multiple entities are investigating the accident that killed Deatherage including the Illinois State Police, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the company the semi-truck driver works for Dot Transportation Inc., which specializes in delivering dry, frozen and refrigerated products across the country.
The driver has been identified as Johnny Felton Jr., 51, of Hinesville, Ga., by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Felton told the Associated Press he had no comment about the accident.
A U.S. Department of Transportation report published online said Felton lost consciousness while driving a commercial vehicle and struck Deatherage, causing his death. Felton had failed to disclose a medical condition he suffers from to a Department of Transportation medical examiner, including his medications prescribed in treating the condition. The specific medical condition has been redacted from the report.
Illinois State Police found prescription medicine bearing Felton's name in the vehicle, according to the federal report.
According to a statement released by Felton's employer Dot Transportation Inc. based in Mount Sterling, Ill., Felton, who was not injured in the crash, is cooperating with authorities.
Felton was hired by Dot Transportation in October 2007 and is currently on leave, using his vacation time, pending the outcome of the company's investigation, company spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross said.
The company stated, "It is DTI's policy to remove a driver from the road immediately following a fatal accident, pending a full investigation. It is also DTI's policy that no driver will drive for DTI unless he or she is in full compliance with the Federal Motor Safety Act and has a valid medical card issued by a Department of Transportation certified physician. The driver involved in this accident has a valid medical card."
Felton works out of the Dot Transportation office in Vidalia, Ga. Dot Transportation is conducting an independent investigation into the accident.
Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Link said ISP's investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Matoush said the criminal investigation is separate from the one under way by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The federal agency declared Felton an imminent hazard Friday and ordered him to immediately cease all commercial vehicle driver operations due to his failure to "exercise an appropriate duty of care to the motoring public regarding his medical conditions."
Deatherage was struck and killed Nov. 26 while standing on the shoulder of Interstate 55 conducting a traffic stop at the driver's side window of a vehicle.
Link said it's at an "officer's discretion," which side of the car they approach while conducting a stop on an interstate.
"At the academy, we are taught both ways," he said. "It's whatever we feel comfortable with."
Deatherage is survived by his wife Sarah and two young children.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.