The driver of an Enviro-Waste Systems garbage truck that rolled over and killed a co-worker in September 25, 2008 has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced on Monday.
Jerry “J.R.” Cruikshank, Jr., 25, of Conroe agreed to plea guilty in exchange for 15 months in state jail, with credit for time served, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrew James.
The bizarre accident occurred on a typical workday, as the men collected trash in the Timberline Estates Subdivision in North Montgomery County. Cruikshank blamed faulty brakes, saying when he attempted to slow the truck, they malfunctioned. As the truck rolled toward some trees, Cruikshank said in trying to avoid hitting them, pulling the emergency brake and shifting into reverse.
The maneuver instead caused the 10,000 pound truck to overturn, with 24-year-old Michael Anthony Brown beneath it. Another co-worker on the truck was not injured.
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The Texas Department of Public Safety inspected the truck and said they found it was safe to drive, with working brakes, and up-to-date commercial inspections at the time of the crash.
Seven months later, Cruikshank was charged with criminally negligent homicide and has since been in the Montgomery County Jail. His prior criminal history includes burglary of a building, possession of a controlled substance and marijuana possession.
James said Brown’s family was consulted about the plea offer and found it acceptable. After the verdict was read, both Brown’s parents gave victim impact statements. James said the DA’s office was pleased with the outcome.