November 29, 2011 | 04:44 PMElkhorn — A Tennessee truck driver, who pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle with the use of a controlled substance, was given a chance to avoid prison during a Nov. 18 sentencing hearing.
William A. Cobb, 49, of Lewisburg, Tenn., was given a 10-year imposed, but stayed prison sentence, which means he will only serve the prison sentence if he violates the terms of his 10-year probation.
On April 27, Cobb lost control of his semitruck on Highway 12 and drove into a ditch. After the crash, Gene E. Moshier, Cobb's father-in-law, was partially ejected from the semi and was pronounced dead at the scene.
As a condition of Cobb's probation, he will have to serve one-year in jail without work release privileges, he has to pay a $1,000 fine and receive counseling as recommended by the probation agent.
Cobb's driver's license also has been revoked for the next five years.
According to the criminal complaint:
On April 27 at 12:15 p.m. a driver of a minivan approached a State Patrol officer to report a semitruck without a trailer was all over the road and tailgating the mini van. The State Patrol officer proceeded north on Highway 12 to locate the vehicle and observed that it had driven off the right shoulder of the road on Highway 12, in the town of Geneva.
The officer observed Cobb, who had blood on the left side of his head, standing outside of the vehicle. The officer also saw a man that was partially ejected through the windshield. Cobb told police that his father-in-law was in the truck's sleeper berth, but stood up to get something right before the crash.
Police spoke to three people who witnessed the crash. The witnesses stated the semi-truck was traveling erratically and at a high-rate of speed.
Cobb was taken to the hospital and agreed to provide a blood sample.
At the hospital, the officer witnessed a doctor remove a patch from Cobb's back. The patch was Fentanyl, which was prescribed to Cobb's wife.
The officer observed that Cobb was sluggish, had slurred speech and would dose off. Cobb was transported to the Walworth County Sheriff's Department to see if the Fentanyl had impaired his driving.
Cobb told police he applied the Fentanyl patch April 22 and had forgotten about it until it was removed at the hospital. Cobb failed field sobriety tests.