A truck driver from Illinois who has waited at Christian County Jail for the last seven weeks, facing a murder charge, had his test results returned this week. They show the condition of his blood at the time he crashed into an Amish buggy on July 8.
The driver, Mark Bohms, was clean: no drugs, no alcohol, said his defense attorney, Rick Boling.
A grand jury will consider this result when it reviews the evidence against him, likely within two weeks. Jurors will have the chance to reduce his charges or dismiss them.
When Hopkinsville police arrested Bohms, they believed he was intoxicated on stimulants and depressants, and charged him with murder, Officer Caesar Sierra later said in court.
Bohms, 53, was driving for a Wisconsin-based shipping company on the evening of the wreck. Around 8:30 p.m., as he drove north on Fort Campbell Boulevard between Interstate 24 and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, he approached a horse-drawn buggy from behind and crashed into it.
Pieces of the buggy flew all over the road. Barbara Smoker, a 3-year-old passenger, died at the scene. Her grandparents and sister were treated at a hospital and later released.
Bohms told police he had reached down to get a cigarette as he crested a hill, traveling at 57 mph. When he looked back to the road, he saw the buggy and swerved toward the left lane, but could not avoid the collision, he said.
He repeatedly told police he had not taken any medications, according to court records. Police did not find any medicine bottles or pills in his truck.
Bohms mostly spoke clearly, though he was unstable on his feet and acted erratically, Sierra wrote.
A Kentucky State Police officer who has training in drug recognition later evaluated Bohms and surmised he had taken medications.
A sample of Bohms’ blood that went to a KSP lab came back this week. Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor called Boling and said the results showed Bohms had been sober, Boling said.
Bohms did not register surprise when Boling told him about the test results.
“His exact words were, ‘I told you that I had not taken anything and I knew there was nothing going to be in my blood, and nobody wanted to believe me,’” Boling told the New Era.
Boling does not believe Bohms’ actions qualify for any crime — including reckless driving.
“I don’t see it as reckless,” Boling said. “Clearly it’s not wanton. It’s nothing more than an automobile accident.”
The New Era could not reach Pryor for comment on Friday.
Boling asked Christian District Judge Arnold Lynch about scheduling an immediate hearing to have Bohms’ bond reduced. Lynch advised Boling to wait for the grand jury’s ruling.
The grand jury meets nearly every Friday morning. Pryor told Boling she would likely present the case in early September.
As for evidence collection, the truck Bohms was driving contains a box designed to record data during crashes. KSP does not have proper equipment to remove the box and download the data, so the trucking company will do it instead. A judge ordered Wednesday that a KSP or HPD officer attend.
Bohms is unmarried and has no children, according to court records. Before the wreck he made about $425 every two weeks. Sierra said Bohms had driven trucks for about 17 years.
Reach Nick Tabor at 270-887-3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.