RIVERSIDE, California – An Arizona man has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for involuntary manslaughter in a fatal bus crash that happened after he parked his truck – without any lights or warning cones – in the middle of a highway on the Fort Irwin Army Base in the Mojave Desert.
Steven Kilty, 52, of Apache Junction, Arizona, was sentenced late Monday afternoon by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal.
After a five-day trial that ended in early October 2018, a federal jury found Kilty of involuntary manslaughter. The evidence presented at trial showed that Kilty, who was delivering a military tactical vehicle, arrived at Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin on June 1, 2014. Kilty had arrived at the base the night before his scheduled delivery, and he parked his tractor-trailer in the right lane of the road on Fort Irwin property. Kilty turned off the lights on the truck and, instead of putting out any safety triangle reflectors or turning on his hazard lights, he went to sleep in the berth of his truck – while the truck was still parked in the middle of the roadway.
Just after 5 a.m. on June 2, prior to sunrise, a Victor Valley Transit Authority bus transporting commuters to Fort Irwin collided with the parked truck. As a result of the collision, Dail Lee Keiper, 62, of Barstow, was killed and seven people suffered significant 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 memorandum 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.”
The evidence presented at 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 this case in March 2016. He initially was tried in this matter in late 2017, but a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, and a mistrial was declared.
This case was investigated by the FBI, California Highway Patrol, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Fort Irwin Police Department.
This matter was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Paul D. Levers and Assistant United States Attorney Jerry C. Yang of the Riverside Branch Office.