An area truck driver has been indicted on a felony charge related to a three-vehicle traffic crash last year that claimed the life of a Fairfield woman. Steven R. Koontz, 48 of Fairfield has been formally charged with aggravated use of a communications device causing a death, a Class-4 felony. The indictment was unsealed Oct. 22 in Wayne County Circuit Court. Koontz was driving a semi for Carter Trucking of Fairfield at the time of the crash, police said. The charge alleges that he was using a cell phone near the time of the crash.
The charge stems from an accident Aug. 6, 2018 that claimed the life of Beverly D. Johnson, 66 of Fairfield. The crash happened around 9 A.M. on that date at the Merriam Crossroads on Illinois Rt. 15. The third driver involved in the crash was J.B. Fletcher, a former Wayne County Sheriff's Department deputy. A few weeks after the fatal crash, Koontz was issued a citation for a violation of his Commercial Drivers License, a Class-A misdemeanor.
Beverly D. Johnson was a retired Licensed Practical Nurse who had worked for more than thirty years at New Harmony Healthcare in New Harmony, Ind. Her 13-year-old grandson was a passenger and received non-life threatening injuries.
Koontz is free on bond pending a Nov. 21 arraignment in Wayne County Circuit Court. An appearance on the misdemeanor CDL offense has also been set for Nov. 21.
If convicted of the Class-4 felony, Koontz could face from 1–3 years in prison and a fine of not more than $25,000. Probation is also a possible sentence.