Semi crash

A semi collided with a bridge along Interstate 80 over the weekend. Authorities suspect the driver fell asleep after spending too many hours behind the wheel.

Courtesy, Wyoming Highway Patrol

A semitruck crashed into a bridge along Interstate 80 near Laramie over the weekend, causing structural damage.

Authorities suspect the truck’s driver, Brian M. Nelson, 44, of Sacramento, California, fell asleep after spending more hours behind the wheel than allowed under federal law, according to a statement from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Nelson, who walked away from the crash with minor injuries, has been charged with operating a commercial vehicle over the federal maximum drive time of 11 hours. Authorities also cited him on suspicion of methamphetamine possession, driving under the influence and careless driving, the patrol said.

Nelson could face additional charges, according to authorities.

Investigators suspect Nelson fell asleep around 1 a.m. Saturday while the semi was heading west on Interstate 80 near milepost 314. It veered off the highway and struck a guardrail at a speed estimated at 65 mph to 70 mph. The truck then crashed head-on into the bridge’s main concrete support pillars.

State transportation engineers later determined the bridge should be closed for vehicle traffic on the top side, the patrol said.

Follow managing editor Joshua Wolfson on Twitter @joshwolfson

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Josh Wolfson is managing editor of the Star-Tribune.

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