DOT Foods driver off the road after crash that killed trooper

According to a news release, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Georgia-licensed truck driver Johnny Felton, Jr., an imminent hazard 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.

Felton was ordered to cease operating following the crash near Litchfield, Ill. on November 26th that killed Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage as he conducted a traffic stop on I-55 at milepost 62.

DOT Foods confirmed Friday, November 30th that one of its drivers was involved and company spokesman Jim Tracy confirmed at that time that the semi involved in the crash was part of their Georgia-based fleet.

"It was one of our drivers," Tracy said. "There is nothing further that I can release. The matter is under investigation."

"Commercial truck and bus companies and operators that violate federal safety standards and jeopardize public safety will be shut down," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "Safety is always our top priority."

Also according to the news release, the FMCSA immediately placed Felton out of service after agency investigators found serious safety concerns surrounding his medical condition and qualifications under his commercial driver's license (CDL) issued by the State of Georgia. Investigators discovered that Felton failed to disclose to a medical examiner his disqualifying medical conditions, including his medications prescribed in treating those conditions.

"This case sends a clear message that we will use every tool at our disposal to identify and remove from our roads unsafe operators," FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said. "Our agency is committed to raising the bar for commercial vehicle and driver safety."

Trooper Deatherage joined the Illinois State Police on May 31, 2009 and was assigned to Litchfield District 18â??s Motorcycle Unit.

Visitation and funeral services for the fallen trooper took place over the past weekend.