INDIANAPOLIS – A judge sentenced the truck driver convicted of killing a mother and her twin babies in a deadly crash on 465 to 9 years in prison.
He previously pleaded guilty but mentally ill and will serve 3 years for each death.
According to a plea deal in the case, the judge could have imposed a sentence between 3 and 9 years. Before handing down the maximum punishment, the judge said the deaths were preventable if the suspect had simply driven responsibly.
Walking to court Pollard stayed quiet and later declined to apologize to the family of the three people he killed when given a chance by the judge.
In court Joey Koons, who lost his wife Alanna and their 18-month-old twins June and Ruby, tearfully described living a life of pain and sorrow.
Exactly one year ago this week, Pollard was behind the wheel of his semi on 465 when he failed to notice traffic had slowed for construction.
State Police claim Pollard never hit his brakes before the impact that caused a chain reaction crash.
“This was a tragedy. Obviously Mr. Pollard should not have been driving. He’s a bad driver, but he’s mentally ill and I hope he gets some help with that,” said Pollard’s attorney Jack Crawford.
Attorney Crawford pointed out his client suffers from mental illness and blames the trucking industry for allowing pollard to drive a big rig for a living.
According to medical reports, Pollard has been treated for numerous psychiatric illnesses starting in 2015. Last year doctors ruled Pollard competent to stand trial.
“I think the trucking company that hired him in June without checking his background and the Missouri Department of Transportation bear some responsibility,” said Crawford.
It turns out Pollard had been fired from a different trucking company following a complaint and crash just months before the deadly collision on 465.
“Our highways are crowded with trucks and we have too few good truck drivers. They have to be screened more carefully to prevent this very type of thing,” said Crawford.
While Pollard didn’t speak in his own defense, his brother told the court he urged Pollard to retire from truck driving before the fatal crash.
For their part, the mother, father and younger sister of Alanna Koons all spoke to Pollard in court. All three asked for the maximum 9 year sentence, but said they forgave him for his reckless behavior.
Pollard has been given one year of credit for time served in the county jail. He does have the right to appeal the sentence.
Pollard will get psychiatric treatment while serving his sentence.
“The Koons family experienced a heart-wrenching tragedy with the loss of Alanna, June and Ruby,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said. “As drivers on our roadways, we have the obligation to be vigilant and observe traffic and warning signs to keep motorists and roadworkers safe. Mr. Pollard’s failure to do so resulted in devastating consequences.”
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