“Distracted” Trucker Charged In Crash That Killed 82-Year-Old Tractor Driver
Gage County, Nebraska – A truck driver who police say was distracted when the tractor-trailer he was operating struck a tractor killing its driver on Monday has been arrested.
In a release, Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) said truck driver Troy Smith, 38, of Crete, was distracted in the moments before the crash along northbound Highway 77 near Pickrell on Monday evening.
NSP investigators said the crash occured at approximately 7:55 p.m. near mile marker 31.
Authorities said Smith’s semi-truck struck the rear of a northbound tractor traveling with its hazard lights blinking and a slow traffic sign on the back.
According to the Gage County Sheriff’s Office, the tractor was as far to the right of the roadway as possible when it was hit.
The collision took the rear wheel of the tractor off, and driver of the tractor, Robert Snyder Sr., 82, of Odell, was ejected.
Snyder Sr. was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Smith was not injured in the crash.
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris said Smith told authorities he took his eyes off of the road momentarily in the moments before the crash.
Investigators said Smith veered to the left at the last moment, but was unable to avoid the fatal collision.
Harris revealed impairment was not a contributing factor.
Smith is now facing a charge of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide and has been released after posting bond.