Crime

Trucker who was using hand-held device while driving pleads guilty in fatal crash

A tractor-trailer driver who was distracted by a hand-held device has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with a fatal five-car crash in Shelby County last year.

Miroslav Kuzmanovic, 23, of Lakewood, Wash., was driving west on Interstate 64 on May 13, 2015, when he did not notice that traffic had slowed down in front of him because a motorist who was receiving assistance on the side of the road. His tractor-trailer rear-ended a Chevrolet HHR driven by Doris Wise, 43, of Louisville, which started a chain reaction resulting in three other vehicles colliding, state police said at the time.

Wise died at the scene.

Kuzmanovic pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree manslaughter, which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and first-degree wanton endangerment, which can carry a sentence of up to five years, state police said. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Shelby Circuit Court on Aug. 15.

State police said Kuzmanovic also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of prohibited use of a hand-held device.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said distraction was a factor in 10 percent of fatal crashes in 2014.

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