Truck driver charged in father-in-law’s death in Elkhorn crash

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Darryl Enriquez
Friday, May 6, 2011
— A Tennessee truck driver was charged Thursday with killing his father-in-law while driving in Geneva Township under the influence of a powerful painkiller.

William A. Cobb, 48, of Lewisburg, Tenn., told authorities that he remembered his semitrailer tractor slamming into a guardrail and sliding into a steep ditch.

The crash happened at 12:15 p.m. April 27 on northbound Highway 12 at McLean Road.

Killed was Gene E. Moshier, 84, of Chapel Hill, Tenn. He was partly ejected through the windshield.

Authorities reported that they found a Fentanyl patch on Cobb’s body. Cobb claimed the painkiller patch was prescribed for his wife, and he had forgotten to remove it.

Several websites describe a Fentanyl patch as a powerful synthetic painkiller far more potent than morphine.

Cobb is charged with homicide while driving under the influence of a controlled substance and felony homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.

If convicted, Cobb faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on the first charge and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 on the second charge.

According to the complaint:

Cobb told investigators Moshier had been in the sleeper berth but stood up to get something just prior to the crash.

Cobb said he was talking with Moshier when the semitrailer tractor suddenly veered as if driving onto a soft shoulder. The rig struck a guardrail, and Cobb saw his Moshier crash through the front windshield. He did not completely penetrate the glass.

While at the hospital, Cobb was observed as being very sluggish, having slurred speech and dosing off when authorities were not talking to him.

Cobb told authorities he applied the patch five days before the crash.

A Wisconsin State Patrol official found the crash after the driver of a van told him about a semitrailer tractor that was speeding and serving.

As he approached the crash site, the official saw Cobb outside of the rig and Moshier partly ejected through the windshield. The official was unable to remove Moshier from the truck, and he was pronounced dead.

Cobb remained in the Walworth County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond. His next court date is Monday.

Last updated: 5:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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