On May 7, U.S. District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner sentenced Valerijs Nikolaevich Belovs, 58, on 15 counts of making false statements in connection with a falsified log book, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Philadelphia judge also fined Belovs $1,000, levied a $1,500 special assessment and prohibited him from operating a commercial vehicle without court permission.
In October, Belovs pleaded guilty to the charges for 15 false logbook entries made in the 13 months leading up to his Jan. 23, 2009 crash. Three days before the crash, he had left Guadalupe, Calif. with a load of broccoli bound for South Philadelphia and New Jersey’s produce markets, according to the U.S. transportation inspector general.
Belovos had kept four logbooks, each falsified to fit possible situations with authorities. One example cited was that on Jan. 22, he said he had been in his sleeper berth in Wyethville, Va., when he actually had been driving to Pennsylvania.
The day of the accident, Belovs had been eastbound on Interstate 76 in Philadelphia when he rounded a curve and encountered stopped rush hour traffic. His Kenworth rear ended a car, causing a crash chain reaction for four more vehicles. The driver of the car Belovs hit died, his passenger sustained serious injuries and four other commuters were treated at local hospitals.
The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas sentenced Belovs to 23 months in prison and a $300 fine on April 26, 2010. He had pleaded guilty to various state charges, including a vehicular homicide department.
The U.S. DOT’s Office of Inspector General reported that, though the truck had a seven-week old inspection sticker, the brakes were severely worn. Belovs drove for Victor Kilinitchii of Philadelphia, who leased drivers to the three trucks he owned. The sticker had been provided by Philadelphia’s Pratt Auto, which was owned by Joseph Jadczak Jr. of Milton, Del.
Belovs had told OIG investigators he had brake trouble on his trip to and from California. Near, Chicago, he said he telephoned Kalinitchii, who refused to approve a repair and ordered him to deliver by 1 p.m. Jan. 23. After that, Belovs contacted Kalinitchii again over steering problems while braking and the truck owner said he would have the brakes checked when he returned the truck in Philadelphia.
Later, Kalinitchii and Jadzack told authorities the stickers had been purchased without inspection or necessary repairs, according to the DOT inspector general’s office.
The same day Belovs was sentenced, the Montgomery County court sentenced Kalinitichii to 23 months in prison, a $2,000 fine and $26,000 in restitution, while Jadczak was sentenced to 23 months incarceration and fined $1000.