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Dump-truck driver arrested in fatalities

Large Truck Accidents | Featured Articles

April 07 2010 - Dump-truck driver arrested in fatalities

Phoenix, Arizona police arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of driving under the influence of methamphetamine in the March 25 wreck in which police said his dump truck rear-ended a group of motorcyclists at a red light, leaving four dead and others hospitalized.

Michael Jakscht walked silently from police headquarters Tuesday, his chin to his chest, as officers took him to be booked at Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of endangerment.

The collision at Carefree Highway and 27th Avenue prompted outcries from the Arizona motorcyclist community as biker groups and safety advocates called the Police Department for answers as to why Jakscht had not been charged or cited.

“I hope someday, or at some point, he comes away from his drug and realizes what he’s done,” said Paul Totonchi, the M.C. Kruzer’s founder whose wife, 47-year-old Dayle Veronica Downs-Totonchi, died one day after the wreck.

Three members of the M.C. Kruzer’s motorcycle group were killed at the scene: Clyde R. Nachand, 67; Stephen Punch, 52; and Daniel L. Butler, 35. Phoenix fire Capt. Ernie Lizarraga, 52, who was riding with the group, remains in serious condition from head injuries.

Toxicology results take up to six weeks in most criminal investigations, according to police. Jakscht’s blood sample, which police drew after he passed field sobriety tests, was made a priority.

“In this case, to get the result, so he doesn’t drive more or drive impaired, it was the department’s decision to make it a priority,” Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

Investigators said Jakscht, who lives in Scottsdale, could face an additional impaired-driving charge, and they are looking into the possibility that Jakscht was high on illegal drugs at the time of his arrest Tuesday near Arizona 51 and Highland Avenue.

In all large truck cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of a large truck accident, call the Truck Accident Lawyers Group, Inc. now at (877) 736-4222 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.