Trucker Charged in Crash Killing Fellow Trucker After Drug Test Comes Back Positive
St. Anthony, ID – An Idaho trucker has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter after a fatal crash that involved three semis and a pickup truck.
The chain-reaction crash took place on Monday, June 8 along U.S. Highway 20 at mile marker 353 in St. Anthony.
According to the Idaho State Police (ISP), 56-year-old Scott Roper, of Pocatello, ID, was operating a 2007 Kenworth semi-truck westbound on Hwy. 20 when he crossed the center line.
Roper’s truck struck a 2020 Kenworth that was traveling eastbound, which hit a 2006 Ford F150 that was traveling behind Roper’s semi.
Roper’s Kenworth then went back into the westbound lanes before once again crossing the median into the eastbound lanes and striking a 2009 Peterbilt.
The driver of the Peterbilt, 73-year-old Joseph Sturgeon, of Melrose, MN, was killed at the scene.
Roper and the driver of the pickup truck were both transported to nearby hospitals for injuries.
According to EastIdahoNews.com, investigators found a half-full whiskey bottle in Roper’s cab, along with a green bottle filled with “various pills.”
Roper allegedly claimed he did not remember anything about the crash when he was questioned by investigators at the hospital.
He said he was hauling a load of grain from Ashton to Pocatello at the time of the incident.
Witnesses at the grain elevator in Ashton where Roper had loaded reported he was “acting abnormally.”
Court documents reveal one worker said Roper “seemed to be in a hurry” as he was being loaded.
Additionally, motorists traveling along Hwy. 20 the day of the crash told police Roper’s Kenworth had “forced several other vehicles off the road miles before the crash.”
According to court documents, Roper’s blood test following the crash came back positive for a cocktail of drugs, including methamphetamine, amphetamine, clonazepam, cyclobenzaprine, diazepam and nordiazepam.
EastIdahoNews.com also reported Roper’s criminal history, specifically as it relates to his career as a professional truck driver.
In February 2020, court documents indicate Roper was cited for a hit and run crash with a pickup truck — a misdemeanor.
The charge was dismissed in August for unknown reasons.
Previously, Roper was on probation for 18 months in 2018 following a guilty plea of possession of medication without a prescription and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia — also a misdemeanor.
Roper’s bail was set for $100,000 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 14.