Driver of 18 wheeler falls asleep at wheel over weekend; shuts down Interstate

Driver of 18 wheeler falls asleep at wheel over weekend; shuts down Interstate

POSTED: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 12:45pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 12:49pm

Traffic on I-12 westbound between Walker and Juban Road was snarled for 12 hours Sunday, March 4 after a South Carolina man fell asleep at the wheel of his 18 wheeler and crashed.

Captain John Sharp, Public Information Officer for the Walker Police Department reported that the accident occurred at approximately 2:45 a.m.

"Andrew Smith, 29, of Goose Creek, South Carolina was operating an 18 wheeler heading west at the 14 mile marker when he fell asleep at the wheel," Captain Sharp said. "His tractor-trailer left the right side of the roadway, struck the guardrail of the West Colyell Creek Bridge and rolled on to its right side as the driver attempted to bring the truck back on to the roadway."

The cab of the tractor-trailer came to rest in the right lane of the interstate, partially blocking west bound traffic.

Clean-up crews worked past noon to off-load the trailer's contents; cases of un-frozen Squeeze Pop popsicles.

"While the cargo was being transferred to another trailer we were able to keep one westbound lane open," Captain Sharp explained. "However, once the contents of the trailer were off-loaded, both westbound lanes had to be closed to allow a wrecker to set the truck and trailer upright."

Westbound traffic was diverted to U.S. Hwy 190 at Walker South Road for about an hour while the tractor trailer was set upright and removed from the scene.

Sunday's accident was unrelated to the ongoing I-12 construction projects.

"Unlike the accidents last week, road work was not a factor in this crash," said Walker Police Chief Hunter Grimes. "But all of these accidents share a common trait; driver error. Until we all exercise more care, observe posted speed limits and warning signs and remain alert at all times, we're going to continue having these interstate accidents that disrupt traffic on our surface streets and cause excessive delays and inconvenience."

No one was injured in Sunday's accident, according to Captain Sharp.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was charged by Walker Police with careless operation.

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