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Truck driver is charged for 4-vehicle crash that killed 2

One truck caused the crash by ramming the back of two passenger vehicles stopped at a signal.

March 27, 2013|by Jerry Jacob, KY3 News | jjacob@ky3.com
  • Lei Sun was driving a semi truck that crashed into the back of two passenger vehicles, killing their drivers when they hit a truck in front of them.
Greene County Sheriff's Dept..

REPUBLIC, Mo. -- A four-vehicle crash killed two people on U.S. 60 in front of Republic Ford at Oakwood Avenue (Farm Road 93) on Wednesday morning.  Late Wednesday afternoon, the driver of the truck that caused the crash was charged with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter.   Lei Sun, 31, a Chinese citizen who lives in Alhambra, Calif., was in the Greene County jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.

The victims of the crash were Corey Gresham, 41, of Macon, and Lawrence Coan Jr., 65, of Kimberling City.

The westbound lanes of the highway were reopened about 2 p.m. after the five-hour on-scene investigation, measurements and reconstruction of the crash were completed.

The crash shortly after 9 a.m. involved two tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles.  Sun's truck didn't slow down and rammed into the back of a car and a pickup, pushing them under a truck that was stopped at a light in front of them.  The car and pickup were crushed, killing Gresham and Coan on the spot.  They didn't have a chance to save themselves.

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"There was no aftermath, it was just instantaneous distruction," said Drew Beini of Republic Ford who rushed to the scene with two coworkers.

"There was nothing we could do," added Gene Weedin.  "One car was wadded up so bad we couldn't get into it in any way, shape or form.  The other one, we tried to resuscitate the guy, and he was already gone."

The two passenger vehicles were hauled away about 1:15.

If Sun is convicted of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, he could get a prison sentence of up to seven years on each count.

"I don't know what happened with the driver," said Weedin, "Obviously he was doing something other than driving the truck."


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Excerpt from probable cause statement against Lei, written by Trooper Price Richardson:

(Lei Sun) was driving a tractor trailer semi-truck west on U.S. 60.  He was entering the city of Republic and the speed limit for Highway 60 was reduced to 40 miles per hour.  At this time, there were three vehicles stopped at the stop light for the intersection of Highway 60 and Farm Road 93.

The first vehicle stopped for the stop light was a tractor trailer semi-truck. The second vehicle was a Nissan Altima.  The driver of the Altima was identified as Corey Gresham.  The third vehicle was a Chevrolet pickup.  The driver of the pickup was identified as Lawrence Coan, Jr.

(Sun) failed to stop with traffic and collided with the pickup truck smashing it into the Altima and then smashing both vehicles into the tractor trailer.  Mr. Gresham and Mr. Coan (died at the) scene as a result of injuries they sustained in this crash.

Sgt. Gruben was able to download information from the crash data recorder in (Sun's) semi-truck. This information showed (Sun's) truck to be travelling 59.5 miles per hour at
the time of the crash. 

(Sun) is an over the road truck driver and subject to the Department of Transportation regulations for commercial truck drivers.  (Sun's)  log book shows that he has driven more than the allotted seventy hours within the past seven day period.

Cpl. Badget spoke with a member of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, regarding (Sun).  He was informed that (Sun's) immigration is currently on appeal status.  It is my understanding that (Sun) is Chinese.

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