Semi driver has past arrests


Published: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
JACKSONVILLE - The driver of the tractor-trailer involved in a fatal crash in Union County Wednesday has a history of arrests and traffic violations, according to court and police records.
Alvin E. Wilkerson, 31, of Jacksonville, was at the wheel of the Crete Carrier Corp. tractor-trailer that crashed into a Pontiac Bonneville on State Road 121 near Lake Butler Wednesday, killing seven people in the car and injuring nine children aboard a school bus.
Officials from the Florida Highway Patrol said Wilkerson failed to stop, but said it may be several weeks before charges are filed.
In 1997, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office charged Wilkerson with being an accessory to a murder after the fact for renting a room in a Jacksonville Motel 8 for Jason Stephens, according to arrest reports. Stephens was convicted of murdering 3-year-old Robert Sparrow. Prosecutors ultimately dropped charges against Wilkerson, according to court records.
Wilkerson was arrested in 1999 for soliciting prostitution in Jacksonville, according to arrest reports. Details about the outcome of the arrest were not available Thursday.
Wilkerson also has a history of traffic violations, from displaying a revoked or suspended driver's license to speeding, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records.
In 1996, Wilkerson was cited for speeding in South Carolina. Two years later, he was cited for speeding again in Jacksonville. Wilkerson was also cited for displaying a revoked or suspended license in 1995, according to traffic records.
And in 2000 and 2001, Wilkerson was cited for operating a vehicle in unsafe condition, although details about those charges were not immediately available, according to state officials.
Jack Peetz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Crete Carrier Corp., would not comment about how the company checks its drivers' backgrounds.
He said the Nebraska-based company was working with investigators in both Nebraska and Florida. "As you might guess, it's a confusing situation," Peetz said. "There's a lot of investigation involved. We're working with the proper authorities to get the accurate facts gathered."
FHP officials said they were waiting for the results of the investigation and toxicology tests before filing charges.
But in Union County, some law enforcement officials said they already have ideas about who was at fault.
"The driver of the car stopped in a legal way, but the driver of the truck did not," said Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead. The driver of the car was 15-year-old Cynthia Nicole Mann. "She was not licensed," Whitehead said. "But that did not contribute to the accident. She was obeying the laws and still lost her life."
Amy Reinink can be reached at 374-5088 or reinina@ gvillesun.com Sun Staff writer Karen Voyles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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