Trucking community mourns driver’s loss in Wyoming crash
04/01/2011 - 11:22:54 am
Funeral services were scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, for Jerry Roberts, 48, of Omaha, NE. Roberts, who drove for Fremont Contract Carriers Inc. in Fremont, NE, died at the scene after the 2007 Freightliner he was driving rear-ended a Volvo truck driven by CRST trainee Welton J. Seawright, 51. Seawright’s estimated speed was 5 mph in a 75 mph zone on that stretch of I-80 at mile marker 335.
Upon impact, Roberts’ rig “became immediately engulfed in flames,” according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol press release issued by Sgt. Stephen Townsend.
Townsend told Land Line on Tuesday, March 29, that there’s no new information to report until investigators complete their crash report.
According to the WHP report, Seawight stated to troopers that he “thought he was going up a steep incline.” Townsend said the area where the crash occurred is “fairly flat or slightly downgraded.”
Townsend said there was “good visibility, dry roads and clear skies” at the time of the accident, which occurred around 5:40 a.m. on Friday.
“That area isn’t known for a lot of accidents,” he said.
Townsend said troopers interviewed Seawright following the accident and the driver stated that his trainer, Otis B. Willson, 40, of Anton, MI, was in the sleeper berth.
The Laramie Boomerang is reporting that WHP Trooper Troy Marrs, who is investigating the crash, stated that the “inexperienced CRST Trucking driver who was disoriented and driving too slow caused the wreck.”
“He’s a brand-new driver; he had only been driving a truck for three weeks,” Marrs told the news agency. “He got disoriented in the dark, going up and down the hills, and his truck was bogging down.”
Roberts was traveling approximately 65 mph and applied his brakes and “skidded just prior” to hitting the rear of the CRST trailer, according to the WHP report.
The other driver, Seawright, was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. He was treated and released from Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. His trainer, Willson, refused treatment at the accident scene, according to the WHP report.
“Once the crash is completely investigated, they (troopers) will turn over all of the reports to the Albany County District Attorney’s office and they will make that final determination if there will be any criminal charges filed,” Townsend told Land Line.
By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line Magazine staff writer