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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2003

Trucker pleads not guilty in fatal crash

A truck driver who allegedly fell asleep and caused a 13-vehicle pileup on I-75 near South Street, killing a 9-year-old girl, was arraigned yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

David Patrick Jepson, 46, of St. Colomban, Que., pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and six counts of vehicular assault. Judge Robert Christiansen ordered Mr. Jepson be held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $220,000 bond.

Mr. Jepson's attorney, James Sammon, told the court that his client is a U.S. citizen but works for a Canadian trucking firm.

Jessica Ortega of Allen Park, Mich., was killed July 16 when Mr. Jepson allegedly fell asleep and plowed his northbound tractor-trailer into the back of several vehicles that had stopped or slowed for a construction zone.

Judge Christiansen scheduled Mr. Jepson's trial for Sept. 16.

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