Driver Charged In Death Of His Passenger After Crash With Tractor Trailer

Delaware State Police are investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer that occurred early Sunday morning, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Heather Pepper.

Pepper said on January 30, 2022, at approximately 4:04 a.m., a 2017 Ford Focus operated by John D. White, 58, of New Hampshire, was traveling southbound on Interstate 95 (I-95) in the right thru lane at speeds below the posted speed limit.

At the same time, a 2020 Freightliner tractor-trailer operated by a 37-year-old Newark man was traveling in the right thru lane approaching the Ford from the rear.

Due to the slower moving vehicle ahead in the right-thru lane, the driver of the Freightliner changed lanes and entered the center-right lane to move past the slower passenger vehicle. After changing lanes, the Freightliner began approaching the rear of the Ford from the center-right lane.

Moments later, White merged into the center-right lane into the path of the Freightliner said Pepper. The truck driver was unable to avoid the rear-end collision, resulting in the front right bumper striking the rear center of the Focus said Pepper.

The vehicles continued traveling into the right thru lane than the right exit lane to SR-896. The Freightliner followed the damaged Ford as it coasted onto the exit ramp from I-95 to northbound SR-896, where it came to a controlled stop in the right shoulder.

A 56-year-old Virginia woman was seated in the front seat of the Ford Focus. She and White were not properly restrained. As a result of the collision, the female sustained life-threatening injuries. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she died a short time later. Identification is pending notification to next of kin.

The 37-year-old Newark man was properly restrained and was uninjured in the collision.

After the initial investigation,  White was charged with the following crimes:

Operation of a Vehicle Causing Death of Another Person
Driving without a Valid Driver License
Improper Lane Change
Failure to Signal Lane Change

He was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court #11 and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on a $1,500.00 secured bond.

The ramp from southbound I-95 to northbound SR-896 was closed for approximately 4-hours during the on-scene investigation.