Trucker Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter in Western Neb. Crash


Josef Slezak, a Chicago-area trucker charged in a deadly crash in western Nebraska that occurred in September has entered a not-guilty plea.

Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub says 36-year-old Slezak did not say anything when asked to enter a plea in court Thursday, so the judge entered a not-guilty plea.

Authorities believe fatigue was a factor in the crash that occurred on Interstate-80 near the Wyoming border because Slezak allegedly didn't slow down before hitting another car and because he had been on duty for nearly 15 hours before the early-morning crash.

Slezak had previously said that he didn't slow down because his cb radio wasn't working and he didn't know about the stalled traffic on the Interstate.

The car Slezak's truck hit was driven by Christopher Schmidt, of Gaithersburg, Md., whose car then pushed into another vehicle that was carrying his pregnant wife, Diana Schmidt, and their two children. The family was killed.

Slezak is charged with four counts of manslaughter, four counts of motor vehicle homicide, and one count of motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child.