Georgia Trucker Insurance News: Driver Goes to Prison for Dumping Diesel

Georgia Trucker Insurance News: Driver Goes to Federal Prison for Dumping Diesel in Creek

On December 16, 2019, CDL Life Magazine reported that per Georgia state authorities, a truck driver pled guilty to illegally dumping thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into a creek, and was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison.

From an insurance perspective, this sort of activity is harmful all around! From the apparent dangers to human life and our environment to the more subtle implications of driver and company liability. Read on to learn more about this Georgia driver’s mistake.

Georgia Driver Charged with Dumping Diesel

Jaron Coleman, age 40, admitted to dumping roughly 3,000 gallons of diesel near a gas station in Thomasville, GA. Coleman dumped the hazardous, flammable fuel after realizing he had loaded the wrong product, and that the customer wouldn’t accept this load.

  • Mr. Coleman, driving for Eco Energy, did not have any permit or authorization to discharge diesel.
  • The hazardous material migrated into a nearby drainage system, which flows into a natural, unnamed creek.
  • As surface water does, this creek flows into larger tributaries, and ultimately in the Ochlockonee River, which is protected by the Clean Water Act as a traditionally navigable water of the US.
  • The Clean Water Act categorizes diesel gas as “oil,” and three thousand gallons considered a harmful quantity.
  • This unauthorized hazardous material discharge caused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch an expensive environmental cleanup. These types of cleanup initiatives can cost millions!
  • Furthermore, Coleman’s actions were a danger to local children. He caused the evacuation of Garrison Pilcher Elementary School in Thomasville, when school staff discovered diesel fuel had seeped into ditches near the schoolyard.

The Georgia Trucker Insurance Provider Perspective

The illegal dumping of hazardous materials is abhorrent! Insurance companies, and other Georgia drivers on the road, count on every driver to make safe, ethical choices. Who is liable for Coleman’s behavior? Mr. Coleman himself. Who may pay for the costly environmental cleanups? Insurance companies, his employer, and innocent taxpayers too.

The potential for huge lawsuits after this sort of behavior is huge, and it’s the reason trucker insurance rates rise. Thankfully, no school children were hurt by his actions, though the environmental impact could be potentially staggering.

Here at J.E.B Insurance, LLC we are committed to providing the best commercial truck insurance to Georgia truckers. We offer big rig insurance, cargo insurance, fleet insurance, and more! If you’d like to talk about hazmat considerations or if you need big rig insurance, contact us today for a free quote. We also provide commercial truck insurance in Florida, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois &  Nebraska.

David Ott

David Ott