Trucker gets prison for killing motorcyclist while watching football on I-81

Carlisle/West Shore
interstate_81_693413

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — A Chambersburg truck driver who was watching a football game when he struck and killed a motorcyclist on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County will serve up to 23 months in prison.

Kevin M. Souriyavong, 35, was sentenced Tuesday to 3-23 months in prison followed by three years of probation. He pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter and simple assault, according to court records.

John Baum Jr., 56, of Walnut Bottom, died after Souriyavong struck the back of his 2005 Harley-Davidson about a mile south of the Plainfield exit on Oct. 16, 2017. A passenger on the motorcycle was injured.

In charging documents, state police said video from the dash camera in Souriyavong’s truck tractor showed he did not slow down until after the crash.

Souriyavong admitted he was distracted just before the crash, but he told police he had been looking at a construction area for a new warehouse to his right.

However, the dash camera video also included “audio of what sounds like the commentary of a football game that can be heard clearly in the background” and the “reflection of what appears to be a smartphone or electronic portable device” that had been positioned to reflect on the windshield, polcie said in the criminal complaint.

Police said the NFL game appeared to be a matchup the previous day between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, and the video shows the collision occurred at the very moment of a key play in the first quarter.

A search of Souriyavong’s phone also showed he sent 22 text messages and received 23 text messages during a run from Shippensburg to northeastern Pennsylvania and back. The text messages discussed placing bets on various football games, including the Steelers game, and “clearly displayed that Souriyavong had a vested interest in the outcome,” police wrote in the complaint.

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