Dump truck driver accused of killing 4 motorcyclists in wreck due in court

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – The dump truck driver accused of plowing into a group of motorcyclists killing four of them last March was due in court Monday morning for a status conference.

Michael Jakscht is charged with 16 counts, including manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty to all of those charges.

The prosecution says Jakscht was under the influence of meth when he drove his 24,000-pound dump truck into a group of eight motorcyclists that was stopped at a traffic light at Carefree Highway and 27th Drive in North Phoenix. Three other vehicles were also hit. Investigators said Jakscht never hit the brakes.

Three motorcyclists died at the scene. A fourth died later at a Phoenix hospital. Five people, including Phoenix fire Capt. Ernie Lizarraga, were injured in the crash.

According to court paperwork, Jakscht had a high pulse rate and dilated pupils at the scene. While officers did administer a field sobriety test at the time of the crash, they had to wait for results of blood tests to prove impairment.

Police put Jakscht under surveillance, arresting him several days after the March 25 wreck. He allegedly drove away from his Scottsdale home while impaired. A drug test showed meth in his system.

A judge set Jakscht’s bail at $1 million.

Monday’s status conference is the latest in a series of court proceedings.