Trucker goes to prison for running red light, causing death

A Stafford, Virginia circuit court judge has sentenced James Edgar Smith of Gwynn, to five years in prison for causing the death of Susan Lee Haines, 57, when he ran a red light and crashed into her vehicle on Route 17 on Feb. 2, 2009. Smith was previously convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Smith’s tractor-trailer was reportedly loaded with sand, weighed 83,000 pounds and was without left front brakes and faulty right front brakes when he ran the red light, according to police reports.

Due to state sentencing guidelines, Smith will only have to serve three months of the five-year sentence.

Susan Haines and her husband had been married 30 years. She had a masters degree in Ornithology and served in the Save Crows Nest and Audubon Society. For the last six years, she worked as a water quality monitor at the headwaters of Aquia Creek, which is a constructed wetlands--a tributary of the tidal segment of the Potomac River located in Northern Virginia.

Cara Luther, the truck accident attorney representing Mr. Haines stated, “If the police reports that Mr. Edgar drove his 83,000 pound truck without proper brakes are true, the reported sentence he will serve would seem very lenient for his actions that so recklessly and completely disregarded public safety.”