Lost load lands trucker in prison for double manslaughter

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer

A Missouri truck driver was sentenced to eight years in prison on Oct. 30 on double manslaughter charges. A poorly secured bulldozer that he was hauling came loose in Foristell, MO, and killed two women in a passenger car on July 8, 2009.

Adam L. Steinmann, of Marthasville, MO, was found guilty on two charges of second-degree involuntary manslaughter on Aug. 31. He was also found guilty of driving with a suspended license, and sentenced to a $300 fine.

Steinmann’s license had been suspended on April 24, 2009, for non-payment of child support, Meg Eveland, assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Charles County, told Land Line.

Steinmann was on probation for two counts of felony property damage at the time of the crash. The judge revoked his probation and gave him two one-year jail sentences to run concurrently to each other and consecutively to the manslaughter cases, for a total of nine years, according to Eveland.

Steinmann was driving his truck “at an excessive speed around a curve with an improperly secured tractor,” according to the indictment. The bulldozer came off the side of the trailer at the tightest part of the curve and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic, Eveland said. It struck the driver’s side of the car driven by 63-year-old Judith Ulery, crushing most of the car. Ulery and her 86-year-old mother, Elsie Sherman, both of Wentzville, had to be extricated and later died from their injuries.

The 42,000-pound bulldozer Steinmann was hauling was secured by two binders and was not held by any chains or straps, according to Eveland. She said the total support weight of the two binders was around 14,000 pounds. An expert testified at the trial that the total weight should have been half the weight of the item being secured.

Eveland also told Land Line that one binder had been broken and welded together, and the binder hooks were different sizes. Steinmann and his father had secured the load.

Bond was set at $100,000 pending appeal, cash only, according to court documents.

Judgment was entered in Oct. 15 for $345,000 in a civil suit against Steinmann; his father, Larry J. Steinmann; their company, Steinmann & Sons Grading, Inc.; and Lamke Trenching & Excavating Inc. and Lester J. Lamke, owners of the bulldozer, according to court documents.