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Driver who killed trooper is ordered to stop driving commercial vehicles

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 9:41 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A Georgia-licensed truck driver was behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer that struck and killed Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage last week while he was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared 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, a driver for DOT Transportation Inc., a trucking company based in Mount Sterling, Ill., was ordered to cease operating following a crash on Nov. 26 that resulted in Deatherage's death.

"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 in a released statement. "Safety is always our top priority."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 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 issued by the State of Georgia. Investigators discovered 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."

The USDOT report said Felton lost consciousness while driving a commercial vehicle and struck Deatherage, causing his death.

The Illinois State Police continues its investigation into the accident that killed Deatherage. No official charges have been filed yet.

Deatherage is survived by his wife Sarah and two young children.

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