Trucker pleads guilty to charges in death of circus worker

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - On Ohio truck driver has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of a former circus performer who was crushed to death by wheels of a truck trailer.

A judge in Memphis sentenced 51-year-old George Freeman of Cleveland to 55 days in jail, which he has already served.

Police say 52-year-old Charles Zebroski was panhandling at an exit ramp of Interstate 40 east of Memphis. Investigators say Freeman drove his truck up the ramp, started to turn left, then changed his mind and went straight across the intersecting road onto the entrance ramp.

The trailer wheels hit the guardrail and the 4-foot-6 Zebroski was struck as he tried to climb over the rail to safety.

Freeman says he didn't know he struck Zebroski until he stopped at a truck scale about 30 miles farther east.

A wrongful death suit filed in federal court by Zebroski's family against Freeman and the trucking company was settled out of court last year.

Zebroski had worked with elephants in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus and was once a professional wrestler.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)