WSP: Tractor trailer driver falls asleep, crashes near La Center

Damascus, Ore. man cited for second-degree negligent driving

By Emily Gillespie and Patty Hastings

Published:

Updated: April 16, 2014, 5:26 PM

 

The driver of a tractor-trailer fell asleep at the wheel, driving his rig off of Interstate 5 on Wednesday morning near La Center, according to Washington State Patrol.

The crash, reported at about 8:30 a.m., occurred just south of Northwest 319th Street.

The driver, a 54-year-old man from Damascus, Ore., was cited for second-degree negligent driving. He was experiencing problems related to his diabetes before he got behind the wheel, WSP Trooper Will Finn said.

The tractor-trailer was seen meandering across all three traffic lanes on southbound I-5 before it left the roadway and went up a grassy embankment, Finn said. Witnesses reported seeing the driver behind the wheel with his head back and eyes closed.

The rig came close to rolling but stayed on its wheels, Clark County Fire & Rescue spokesman Tim Dawdy said.

“The truck is empty, otherwise it would have gone over for sure,” Dawdy said.

The driver had started working about eight hours before the crash occurred, transporting a load between Damascus, Ore., and Fife, east of Tacoma. Although the driver was not injured, he was transported to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center as a precaution, Finn said.