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Man hauling military vehicle sentenced to prison for Fort Irwin fatal crash

Welcome sign at Fort Irwin National Training Center in California with M1 Abrams tank (left), AH-1 Cobra Helicopter gunships (center) and a BMP-1 (right). (Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons)
October 31, 2019

An Arizona man has been sentenced to 24 months in connection with a fatal bus crash that occurred after he parked his truck – with no lights or warning cones – in the middle of a highway on the Fort Irwin Army Base.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said federal judge Jesus G. Bernal sentenced Steven Kilty of Apache Junction, Arizona late Monday afternoon.

A federal jury found Kilty of involuntary manslaughter after a five-day trial that concluded in early October 2018. The evidence presented at trial showed that Kilty, 52, was delivering a military tactical vehicle when he arrived at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin on June 1, 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s office reported.

Kilty parked his tractor-trailer in the right lane of the road on Fort Irwin property upon arriving at the base the night before his scheduled delivery. He turned off the lights on the truck and went to sleep in the berth of his truck – while the truck was still parked in the middle of the roadway.

He also neglected to put out safety triangle reflectors or turn on his hazard lights, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Around 5 a.m. on June 2, before sunrise, a Victor Valley Transit Authority bus taking commuters to Fort Irwin struck the parked truck. Dail Lee Keiper, 62, of Barstow, was killed as a result of the collision, and seven people suffered major injuries, including one man who lost his arm.

“The death was the direct result of defendant’s decision to park the semi-truck loaded with an armored vehicle in the middle of a moving lane of traffic,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing statement filed with the court. “Rather than a single isolated decision, the accident was the culmination of a number of reckless decisions made by (the) defendant.”

Evidence presented at the trial showed that Kilty was “grossly negligent” because his truck was blocking traffic on the roadway and he failed to place any warning reflectors, both of which are violations of the California Vehicle Code.

Kilty was indicted in March 2016. A mistrial was declared when jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict after a trial in late 2017.

Investigators in the case included the FBI, California Highway Patrol, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Fort Irwin Police Department.


© 2019 Daily Press