Truck driver who caused crash that killed nursing students weeps in court

John Wayne Johnson is serving five years in jail for the crash that killed five students.

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. — A truck driver who caused a crash that killed five nursing students wiped away tears in court Wednesday.

John Wayne Johnson and the company he worked for, Total Transportation of Mississippi, are facing a civil lawsuit from crash survivor Megan Richards, of Loganville.

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Johnson pleaded guilty to several charges, including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, and is serving five years in jail for the crash.

He wept as lawyers played audio of state troopers questioning him the morning of the crash on Interstate 16 in April 2015.

"For what it's worth, very sorry, emotional to the families and all. It is something that definitely not intentional. I say, I can't explain why, how what, and being in shock right now,” he said in the recording.

Johnson was driving a tractor-trailer when he plowed into two cars carrying seven students from Georgia Southern University.

Two of the students survived.

The trucking company has already admitted responsibility for the wreck and reached multi-million dollar settlements with the one survivor and the families of the other students.

Now a jury will decide how much compensation Richards should receive for the injuries she suffered in the horrific crash.

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Wednesday, jurors heard from a medical experts and a witness who pulled Richards from the fiery wreck.

Army Sgt. William Robenolt graphically described the chaos he witnessed that day.

Robenolt compared the scene to an Army vehicle hitting a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

“A lot of noise, a lot of people, a very chaotic scene. You could hear the fire from the car, you could hear things falling, melting and falling off the car. You could hear the sounds of metal just expanding and contracting from the heat and popping,” he said.

Richards' lawyers say she still suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

Johnson, along with Richards and her family, could take the stand as soon as Thursday.

Stay with WSBTV.com and watch Channel 2 Action News for complete coverage as this trial continues.