The driver of a tractor-trailer charged in a crash that killed five family members —including an infant and a 7-year-old — had worked too many hours leading up to the crash and was driving without properly working brakes, prosecutors said.
The January 2015 crash also killed a pregnant woman and two other adults.
Yvenet Mayette, 29, of Philadelphia, is facing 11 charges in the deadly crash in Wye Mills, Maryland, Queen Anne's County prosecutors announced Thursday.
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The victims, all family members, had been driving from Greenbush, Virginia, to visit family in Baltimore. But shortly after 1 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2015, a tractor-trailer driven by Mayette slammed into the passenger side of their 2006 Suzuki Forenza at the intersection of Routes 50 and 213, authorities said.
The tractor-trailer then apparently rolled over the family's car.
Regina Ayres, 24; her boyfriend, 25-year-old Travis Stratton; their baby, Jonathan, and Regina's daughter, Jordan, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Also in the car was Regina's sister, 30-year-old Zerissa Ayres, who was pregnant. Zerissa was rushed to a hospital, where she and her unborn child were pronounced dead.
Leading up to the crash, Mayette had worked 70 hours in eight consecutive days, according to prosecutors.
Authorities said in the aftermath of the crash they believed Mayette had been heading home to Wilmington, Delaware, after picking up 44,000 pounds of polyfiber in Charlotte, North Carolina, the previous afternoon.
He was injured in the crash and was flown to University of Maryland Shock Trauma, where he was treated.
On Thursday, more than a year after the crash, prosecutors announced the charges against him, some of which allege overtime work and insufficient maintenance on the tractor-trailer. The 11 charges include:
- Failure to stop at a red light, contributing to a fatal crash
- Failure to control speed to avoid collision, contributing to a fatal crash
- Negligent driving, which contributed to a fatal crash
- Reckless driving
- Driving a commercial vehicle in condition likely to cause a crash, which contributed to a fatal crash
- Driving a commercial vehicle with inoperative brakes on a combination vehicle, which contributed to a fatal crash
- Driving a commercial vehicle with inadequate brake linings, contributing to a fatal crash
- Driving a commercial vehicle after being on duty for 70 hours in eight consecutive days, contributing to a fatal crash
- Driver of a commercial vehicle preparing a falsified record of duty status, which contributed to a fatal crash
- Driver of property carrying vehicle driving after 14 hours of having come on duty without 10 hours off duty, contributing to a fatal crash
- Driver of property carrying vehicle driving after having driven 11 hours without 10 hours off duty, contributing to a fatal crash
Authorities brought the charges after reviewing an investigation by Maryland State Police. Mayette met with troopers Tuesday morning and was served with a criminal summons.
Authorities said Mayette has the right to stand trial on the charges or to pay pre-set fines for each charge.
Information on an attorney for Mayette was not immediately available.