Update: Charges Filed Against Inmate Driver In Fatal Crash

Inmate driving van in fatal crash.

Inmate driving van in fatal crash.

Charges have been filed against the inmate who was driving a van that collided with another vehicle, resulting in the death of a Lincoln woman back in June.

Thirty-five-year-old Jeremy Dobbe has been charged with manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Joyce Meeks.

An arrest affidavit outlines the crash and witnesses that say Dobbe was speeding and swerving up until the impact.

According to the affidavit, Meeks died of blunt force trauma.

An airbag control module from the van Dobbe was driving shows that it was going 90.1 mph 5 seconds before the crash and 89.5 at impact.

It also showed that there was no braking 5 seconds before the crash.

Dobbe's urine test came back clean for drugs and alcohol. But according to the affidavit, Dobbe told hospital staff that he was on K2 when he was brought in after the crash.

Dobbe could face anywhere from 1 year to 20 years in prison.

The inmate driving program has since been ended by state corrections.

Meeks' family filed a legal claim against the state in July, saying officials need to be held responsible for the prisoner who was allowed to drive a state-owned van.

The claim is the first step toward a $5 million lawsuit for the death of Meeks, who was killed June 25th when a van driven by inmate Jeremy Dobbe crossed the center line at 18th and Van Dorn and plowed into her minivan.

Meeks' son, Martell Buchanan, says his family wants answers about why officials let Dobbe drive other inmates to and from work-release assignments. "I just don't want my mom's death to just go under the rug somewhere and everybody just forget."

Dobbe is serving 5-7 years for possession of methamphetamine and has past convictions for DUI and reckless driving.

The family claims the state is liable due to its negligence in using Dobbe in the van driver program, calling him "unfit to safely and competently drive." They hope the lawsuit will teach the state a lesson.

After losing his wife, Leonard Meeks is still at a loss for words. "It's really difficult for me to even sit here and explain how I really feel."

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services had allowed inmates to drive the vans since 1985.

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