The semi-truck driver, accused of using drugs and crashing into a school bus May 23, 2018, was found guilty Thursday, Aug. 15 on 30 charges.
Wayne Murphy, 43, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was convicted of 10 felony counts of reckless injury and injury by intoxicated use/vehicle, as well as vary counts of reckless driving and causing injury/operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
The charges stem from five injuries caused by the crash that occurred on northbound I-39/90/94 in Columbia County between DeForest and Lodi. There were 33 people injured in the crash
The victims – school children from Milwaukee – ranged in age from 12 to 15 and sustained injuries including concussions and broken bones. A 15-year-old female was knocked unconscious and put on a ventilator because she couldn’t breathe on her own, according to the criminal complaint. Two victims were airlifted to area hospitals. Others were transported by ambulance.
The school bus was carrying over 30 passengers, mostly middle school students, from Milwaukee to Wisconsin Dells for a field trip. It had pulled over onto the interstate’s shoulder due to mechanical issues when Murphy’s semi allegedly crashed into it.
At the scene, Murphy told police he’d taken a pill-and-a-half of his Sertraline prescription for anxiety that morning. Police recovered the prescription bottle, which called for one pill a day.
A sticker on the container warned of drowsiness and said to use caution behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Police also found a prescription for Alprazolam, a tranquilizer commonly known as Xanax. Authorities counted the number of pills in the Alprazolam bottle and determined Murphy was taking approximately two times his prescribed daily dosage.
Murphy faces up to 126 years in prison and $260,000 in fines. His sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.