On March 7, 2004 the Armstrong family from Waynesboro, Virginia, was wiped out when an illegal alien truck driver, Nasko Nazov from Macedonia, slammed into their car. Edward D. Armstrong III, 32, his wife, Melissa, 26, daughter Brittany, 10; and son Edward Armstrong IV, 6 were killed instantly along a Tennessee stretch of Interstate 81.
The Armstrongs had slowed down for a crash ahead of them as the traffic started backing up. A tractor-trailer truck behind them, driven by Nazov, failed to stop. The non-English speaking trucker first knocked over a pickup truck and then plowed into the back of the Armstrong’s car, shoving it underneath another tractor-trailer.
At first, witnesses-turned-rescuers in the Interstate 81 wreck saw only adults. It wasn’t until after the back end of the crushed car was pried apart that emergency responders realized the children had also died inside.
A Greene County grand jury indicted Nazov in December 2004 on four counts of reckless homicide, which is a Class-D felony.
Adding to the senselessness of the tragedy, officials learned that Nazov had been driving his truck with a bogus commercial driver's license (CDL). The suburban Chicago resident had obtained false documents claiming he was a resident of Wisconsin (where he took his driver's test) and had gotten help from a translator on the answers to a written exam.
In 2006, Nazov was sentenced to four years in prison but could serve less than a decade in prison for wiping out an entire family in a single second.
Immediately after the wreck, Nazov faced more problems than the possibility of homicide charges. Tennessee State Police began to uncover a national scam the very second they pried into his truck and driving logs.
Nazov failed “to make all records and information pertaining to accident available to an authorized representative or special agent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as required,” according to records of the federal investigation into his false license.
That investigation also cites him for “making or causing to make fraudulent or intentionally false statements or records and/or reproducing fraudulent records.”
One investigator cited employer World Trucking with drivers who falsified delivery records to the extent that “fictitious co-drivers” were listed in some logs.
Federal authorities eventually learned that Nazov listed a false Greenfield, Wis., address when applying for his trucking license so he could take a driver’s test more lax than that in Illinois.
That landed Nazov in a federal investigation called Operation Safe Road, which has nabbed hundreds of truckers, driving schools, and government officials - including a former Illinois governor and inspector general - with corruption charges. The investigation was sparked more than 10 years after a truck driver killed six children in a fiery crash near Milwaukee.
“I just don’t understand why they don’t shut them [corrupt trucking companies and businesses] down and do something about it,” Armstrong said.
Investigators realized that also sharing Nazov’s false Wisconsin address were more non-English speaking truck drivers from Illinois. The conspiracy led to businessman Adam Babul, owner of Bamba Inc., which bills itself as a company guaranteeing aliens legal documents and legal status to the United States.
Some clients paid Babul as much as $2,000 for a bogus trucker’s license.
Nazov eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the Operation Safe Road grand jury, a crime that netted him 10 months in jail.
Documentation:9FEB05, ABC7 Chicago
Trucker in fatal crash accused of lying to get license, AP story
11JAN06, WATE 6,
Truck driver faces homicide charges in four-fatality wreck
14MAY06, The News Virginian
Armstrong family still feels loss, by Michael Owens