On Saturday, May 21st, 2017 around 1:05 a.m., a commercial truck left the highway and crashed into a bridge at milepost 314 on Interstate 80 near Laramie, Wyoming. The crash caused significant damage to the bridge resulting in a closure of the use of the bridge.
Brian M. Nelson, a 44 year old resident of Sacramento, California, was operating a red Volvo semi truck pulling a loaded flatbed trailer in the driving lane of westbound I-80. Near milepost 314, investigators believe Nelson fell asleep while driving. The semi truck veered off to the right side of I-80 and struck a guardrail. There was no evidence of braking or skid marks and the semi-truck was estimated to be traveling at 65-70 mph as it drove on top of the guardrail and then struck the main concrete support pillars under the bridge head-on.
WYDOT Engineers examined the bridge structure and determined that it was necessary to close the use of the bridge from the top side. The entire roadway had been closed for approximately one and one-half hours on the night of the crash before local wrecker companies, Troopers, Albany County Deputies, Laramie Police Officers, Albany County Fire Fighters and WYDOT Officials reopened a lane of traffic under the bridge.
Brian Nelson was charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle over the federal maximum drive time of eleven hours. He was also cited for careless driving, driving while under the influence of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of suspected methamphetamine. Other charges may be pending.
Brian Nelson was wearing his seat belt and walked away from the crash with only minor injuries once again proving how important it is to always wear your seat belt.