Prison transport driver charged in Kalamazoo Co. crash

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
A photo of a crash in Kalamazoo County on Jan. 21, 2020.

A photo of a crash in Kalamazoo County on Jan. 21, 2020.

CHARLESTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The driver of a prisoner transport van has been charged in connection to a crash on I-94 near Galesburg in January.

After multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of the incident report was released Monday to News 8. It shows Jacob Carmack of Cookeville, Tennessee, was driving the van owned by US Corrections, LLC., when it crashed into the back of a GMC Sierra on I-94 in Charleston Township.

The Ram ProMaster Van was taking seven inmates from correctional facilities on the east side of the state to “a Correction Facility somewhere in Illinois.”

According to the police report, only one of the nine people in the van was wearing a seat belt at the time. All nine were taken to hospitals in Kalamazoo. Two of the inmates were admitted while the rest were released and moved to the Kalamazoo County Jail. The two employees were treated and released.

Carmack told investigators he was responsible for watching three monitors and two tablets while he was driving. On the day of the crash, Carmack said he noticed traffic ahead of him and started to check the monitors. When he looked back, he noticed “the vehicle ahead of him was much closer than he remembered.” Carmack said he didn’t remember if he attempted to break, though he does remember attempting to change lanes to avoid the collision — which was unsuccessful.

Deputies also found a handwritten note that they say appeared to be from an inmate of a previous transport as the were inventorying property from the crash. The note was not dated but said, “also erratic driving on purpose, slamming brakes and swerving, just for aggravation and out of anger. I only state this for the safety of future transport.” The handwritten note did not mention the name of the driver.

Charges were requested by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office in February and the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office charged Carmack on March 2 with three counts of moving violation causing serious impairment of bodily functions. A warrant was issued for his arrest at that time.

According to online court records, Carmack has not yet turned himself in for arraignment.

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