Nashville Ready Mix Inc., charged with vehicular homicide and reckless homicide after one of its trucks was involved in a fatal crash in 2013, has pled no contest to the reckless homicide charge and paid a $200,000 fine.
The truck driver, Robert W. Ashabranner, of Clarksville, Tenn., who was charged with reckless homicide and vehicle homicide by reckless driving in the incident, pled no contest to facilitation to reckless homicide and was placed on judicial diversion for two years.
The pleas were entered on Aug. 25 in Tennessee's Cheatham County Circuit Court.
Both the firm and the driver did not admit guilt in the plea bargain reached with Bob Wilson, assistant district attorney. He called the plea agreement "a fair way to settle the case."
Hal Hardin, attorney for the company, said the plea deal was "best for all sides-the family, the company, the state, everybody else."
The charges were filed after Ashabranner, driving downhill in a loaded concrete truck, was unable to stop for another halted concrete truck. He drove around it and swerved, trying to miss a stopped pickup truck in the opposite lane. However, he hit that truck and turned over, striking Sergio Garcia Lopez, of Clarksville, and sliding down the highway into another pickup that had stopped.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol report cited a "preexisting ... issue with the brake system" of the truck.
Court documents show that, almost daily for about six months before the wreck, Ashabranner had complained to the firm about problems with air leaks in the truck's braking system.
Ashabranner continues to work for Nashville Ready Mix, as does Carlton H. Moseley of Clarksville, the dispatcher who also was charged. However, his charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
The company has replaced employees in charge of truck maintenance and invested in new trucks and maintenance upgrades, Hardin said.