Trucker found guilty on multiple counts connected to school bus crash

UPDATE (WKOW) — A jury has found truck driver Wayne Murphy guilty on multiple counts of causing great bodily harm and reckless driving after his semi truck sideswiped a school bus stopped along an interstate highway in 2018.

The bus was full of students at the time. All 33 passengers on-board were injured.

The jury returned the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

Murphy was also convicted on five counts of recklessly causing great bodily harm and nine counts of causing injury while driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Sentencing guidelines say each count could bring up to 12 and a half years in prison.

Murphy says he took Xanax and Zoloft the day of the collision.

Before the verdict, Murphy testified that he had never been involved in a crash before and the anti-depressants were not a factor.

“I felt relaxed,” he said. “I mean if you’re talking about a euphoric high I mean it doesn’t, I didn’t take enough to try to get high on it or whatever.”

Ultimately, the jury disagreed, siding with Assistant Attorney General Tara Jenswold’s argument.

“The reason this crash happened is obvious,” she said. “It’s because the defendant Wayne Murphy drove impaired under the influence of his alprazolam and his sertaline and he drove recklessly that day and he slammed into that bus and he changed those kids’ lives forever.”

Murphy’s attorney Ronald Benavides said after the proceedings that he respected the jury’s verdict but was glad Murphy got the chance to tell his side of the story.

Murphy has been in Columbia County Jail since the crash and that’s where he’ll remain until his sentencing.

More at WKOW 27 News

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