The prison inmate who drove the state van into a Lincoln intersection killing a woman has been charged with manslaughter.
Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly has charged 35-year-old Jeremy Dobbe with manslaughter in connection with the traffic crash that killed Joyce Meeks of Lincoln.
Several Lincoln residents called the evening of June 25th to report the erratic driving of a state van on Van Dorn Street, operated by the Department of Correctional Services. Moments later the van crossed the center line and struck the mini-van Meeks was driving nearly head-on. Meeks died at the scene. Dobbe was treated at Bryan Medical Center.
Meeks was 47; a nursing assistant in Lincoln. Her family has filed a $5 million claim against the state, the prelude to a formal lawsuit.
The Lancaster County Attorney’s office states that blood tests performed on a sample taken from Dobbe turned up no evidence of alcohol or synthetic marijuana in his blood stream.
Dobbe was driving the state van to pick up fellow work-release inmates, part of a state inmate driving program Nebraska has used since 1985 when city buses aren’t running. State officials have discontinued the program in wake of the fatal accident.
Dobbe, from Schuyler, was an inmate at the Community Corrections Center in Lincoln. He was serving five to seven years in prison on charges of possession of meth with intent to deliver, terroristic threats and criminal mischief from Colfax and Butler Counties. He had previous driving violations, including driving under the influence.
The manslaughter charge carries a minimum prison sentence of one year and can result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Arraignment has been scheduled for August first.