Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2004

Trucker in crash has drug history

Charges expected today in wreck that killed Baker U. student

April 15, 2004


The truck driver suspected of being intoxicated and causing a deadly wreck Tuesday near Baldwin is on parole from Texas for a cocaine charge.

Yan R. McHenry, 46, Dallas, was convicted in 1990 of conspiracy possession of a controlled substance and sentenced to 99 years in prison, according to records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. But he was set free in 2001 and placed on parole, records show.

Police arrested Yan on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and aggravated battery after the crash Tuesday on U.S. Highway 56 that killed 19-year-old Baker University student Shawn M. Trager and injured three others. The wreck happened shortly after 11:30 a.m. when McHenry's westbound tractor trailer rear-ended a Chevrolet Cavalier occupied by Trager, his older brother, Aaron, and another Baker student, Andrew Potts.

The Chevrolet, which apparently had slowed in traffic to make a left turn, was pushed into the oncoming lane of traffic. It collided with an eastbound minivan, which knocked it back into the semi's trailer, police said.

McHenry has not been formally charged in District Court, but Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney said she expected to file charges today. McHenry was expected to make a first appearance before a judge this afternoon.

Officers arrested McHenry on suspicion of aggravated battery because of the injuries caused to other drivers, but that charge was entered on a jail booking log before officials learned Shawn Trager had died. Typically, drivers accused of killing someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are charged with manslaughter or, in extreme cases, second-degree murder.

Under state law, driving while intoxicated -- also called driving under the influence -- is defined as driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or any combination of drugs that makes driving unsafe. For drivers of commercial vehicles -- defined as those with a weight rating more than 13 tons -- the legal blood-alcohol limit is .04, according to statute.

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