"I'm sorry," he said. "I never meant for something like that to happen."
Moments earlier, Hickman was told his combined charges could add up to more than 250 years of prison time.
"This is a case that's really taken a toll on our community," said Faulkner County Prosecutor Cody Hiland.
On June 2, Hickman was driving a log truck down US-65 in Clinton when prosecutors say he lost control, spilling logs onto a bridge where construction crews were working.
Following the crash, officers said Hickman's "motions were very slow" and his behavior "resembles a person that is intoxicated."
On Wednesday, Hickman denied being on drugs at the time of the crash.
But sources close to the investigation say blood tests found levels of methamphetamine more than twice what's considered toxic.
Two construction workers lost their lives and 16 others were injured -- some seriously -- in the crash prosecutors say was caused by Hickman's recklessness.
"As prosecutors, we're going to prosecute to the full extent of the law and hopefully bring some level of justice to these families," Hiland said.
Hickman pleaded not guilty to the negligent homicide and battery charges during a hearing Wednesday. His bond was set at $250,000.
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