Semi-truck driver gets 20 years in prison for crashing into school bus, injuring 20 people

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PORTAGE, Wis. (WMTV) - A judge sentenced a semi-truck driver to over 20 years in prison for driving into a Wisconsin school bus and injuring 20 people while under the influence.

Wayne Murphy in Columbia County Court Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

A jury had already found Wayne Murphy, 43, guilty of 30 felony counts of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and second-degree reckless injury.

On Monday, Judge Troy Cross in Columbia County Court sentenced Murphy to 20 years and 6 months of confinement, 10 years of extended supervision plus a minimum of $9,000 in fines. Judge Cross gave a consecutive sentence for each of the 20 victims.

Authorities arrested Murphy after he slammed his semi-truck into a school bus filled with students on the interstate near Deforest in May of 2018. The bus driver had pulled to the side of the road because of mechanical issues.

Monday's sentencing hearing was more than two hours long, and filled with emotional testimony. One victim said he is still scared to ride a school bus.

Murphy's mother and sister testified as well, asking the judge to consider probation because of Murphy's clean record. Murphy also gave a statement, tearfully apologizing to the victims and his family.

"I can say that I'm truly sorry to everyone involved in this accident, for everybody's lives including mine have been changed," Murphy said.

But Judge Cross criticized him for blaming the school, and blaming the state for not offering a good enough plea deal.

"You made every excuse you could when you testified to every little event," says Judge Cross.

According to a criminal complaint released last year, Murphy had been under the influence of prescription when he crashed into the bus. The bus was carrying people from Hope Christian School in Milwaukee.

Murphy, from Indianapolis, Indiana, pleaded not guilty to felony charges in September of 2018.