Georgia trucker indicted in Illinois trooper death

HILLSBORO – An Illinois grand jury has indicted a Georgia truck driver on felony charges in the November highway death of an Illinois state trooper, Illinois State Police said Tuesday.

A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Johnny B. Felton Jr., 52, of Hinesville, Ga., on Monday. He faces charges of reckless homicide and operating a commercial motor vehicle without the proper license in connection with the Nov. 26 death of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage.

The trooper died when Felton's tractor-trailer struck him on Interstate 55 near Litchfield in central Illinois about 45 miles south of Springfield.

The indictment accuses Felton of failing to change lanes and reduce speed after seeing a standing emergency vehicle with its lights on. Illinois State Police said Felton was taken into custody Tuesday in Georgia and waived extradition to Illinois where he will be arraigned.

In November federal regulators said Felton wasn't medically fit to drive commercially. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration immediately placed Felton out of service after agency investigators found what it called serious concerns about his medical condition and qualifications under his Georgia-issued commercial driver's license.

Felton previously has said he had no comment on the case. A person who answered a Georgia phone listing for Felton on Tuesday said she did not know the name of his attorney.

Deatherage, 32, was a married father of two children and had been a trooper since May 2009.