Posted 6 months ago
By John Axtell
An Illinois truck driver who pled No Contest to causing the deaths of a family of four in a traffic accident on Interstate 80 near Sidney 13 months ago has been sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison.
Cheyenne County District Court Judge Derek Weimer on Wednesday sentenced 36-year old Josef Slezak to consecutive 5 year terms on each of 4 counts of motor vehicle homicide, and 20-60 months on one count of motor vehicle homicide involving an unborn child.
The last sentence will run concurrently to the others. Under Nebraska’s good-time rules, Slezak will be eligible for parole in 10 years.
Slezak pled No Contest to the five counts in September in return for prosecutors dropping four additional counts of felony manslaughter.
30-year old Christopher Schmidt, his pregnant 28-year old Diana, and their two children…2-year old conner and 3-year old Samuel…were moving from Maryland to California when they were killed Sept. 9, 2012.
Authorities say Slezak had driven virtually straight through from Milwaukee…more than 14 hours and well over federal limits for commercial truckers…when he came upon traffic backed up from an earlier fatal accident involving two semis.
Slezak slammed into the rear of the vehicle driven by Christopher Schmidt, who was alone, pushing it into the van being driven by Diana Schmidt and with the 2 children inside, slamming it underneath another truck